Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jobs

I should start by saying I am a teacher. I think I always have been and probably always will be. I babysat other children at an age when I should've still needed a babysitter! I shudder to think that in this day and time either my parents or the parents of the children I was watching would probably be arrested. My mother tells a story of one of her close friends telling her that I taught her younger children how to pretend and play, and this was when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. I started my teaching career in special education. I knew from the beginning of my college course work that I had a desire to work with the youngest students, but at the time there was no birth-kindergarten degree or licensure, and early intervention was in its infancy. As soon as I became aware of the possibility of adding birth-kindergarten onto my teaching license, I was ready to do it. A good friend of mine helped me with the necessary paperwork and I was ready to go,according to the state of North Carolina. I then spent several very good years working in early intervention. From my point of view this was the best job ever, a combination of my love for special education and the birth-kindergarten population. Unfortunately, the company I worked for decided to follow the money, and teaching young children is usually not incredibly profitable, and eliminated the entire intervention unit. So I flitted from job to job for about three years and finally got back into the classroom, teaching 4 year olds. I was excited to have what is known as a developmental day class, meaning that I also had students identified with special needs. I had a great class and great coworkers but began to realize that I was sinking further and further into debt each year. Like I said making money as an early childhood teacher is difficult. So the decision to look elsewhere was made and I am happy to say that I have found other employment,but still within the realm of early childhood. I am over 4 classrooms at a small center. We opened for the new school year Monday and I am blessed to be working with like minded individuals who truly care about their students. I think that as I learn the ropes of the organization and support the faculty in their teaching it will be a great job that will allow me to use all my skills. All that to say, support education reform, teacher pay increases, and monies for early childhood education. Those of us in the field would greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Confessions of a Pinterest addict

I am not sure when it happened. It snuck up on me. One day I was happy in my lesson planning, home making, parenting little world and then somehow I found Pinterest. My life has never been the same. I honestly cannot remember how I ever planned anything for school without it. Parties, unbelievable that there was actually a time that I not only planned but carried out parties (there is pictorial proof) without the ideas gathered from Pinterest. I have some unimaginable amount of boards (over 100),most of them dedicated to school,but each family member also has there own board. Each holiday, interest and anything I remotely find funny. It is out of control. But, mind you, I am not asking for help. I intend to take as many people down with me as possible. If you have not already found this bliss called Pinterest please check it out. You can find me at www.pinterest.com/hlg4 Come on...it's fun

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer is here! Today is the first official day of summer. And...bring on the haters, I'm not the biggest fan. I don't swim (there's a story there), and my house is air conditioner-less, only fans. I don't like extremes so too much heat and humidity..um no thank you. But spring and fall...big fan. What I do enjoy.....the teacher break. A time to spend with my kiddos before they get too old to want me to spend time with them and popsicles, and the river and that time of day before it gets dark, its still a bit warm, but not oppressing, the day is winding down, you may be grilling out and you can sit on your porch and watch the night come. Hands down a favorite. Doing this in the south where you get the bonus of lightning bugs and dogs running in the yard and kids playing nearby while you chat with your neighbors and family - unbeatable. So yeah Summer, you can hang around for a bit.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter egg hunt

I was told that letting my students hunt for Easter eggs this past Friday was wrong, politically incorrect. Maybe they are supposed to be called Holiday eggs? I don't know , I do know that they had fun. There were no tears, no drama and no complaints so, yeah,  I'd do it again!
#preschoolfun #stopbeingserious

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Diversity

Lately I have been struggling with teaching diversity to my little ones. I am not only taking a class on Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs, it is a personal goal of mine on my PDP for my teaching license, something that my evaluator wants to see more of in my classroom. I have a diverse class, but I always do. I tend to focus on getting them to understand and appreciate the differences that they have by helping each other out in areas of need. For example, "-----, doesn't have the words yet to talk about how he wants that toy. How can we help him get what he wants without hurting/hitting his friends?" When half the class has developmental delays, topics like this tend to be the focus , not skin tone or hair color or the fact that her mom is white and her dad is black. Usually I wait for the topic to be brought up naturally by the children and address it then in a matter of fact way. I guess my feeling is if the general atmosphere in your class is one of a family and helping each other is it necessary to bring up skin tones and other racial indicators? A part of me want to protect their childhood innocence of love and trust as long as I can, without this topic. This is not to say that I don't have books, clothes, pictures,foods, dolls and other items that denote differences and culture, I'm just wondering what is appropriate, what's enough, what's developmentally appropriate? If the kids don't bring it up? Should I?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lego Invasion

I know ....I know...someday I will miss this, that my kitchen table has been turned into an epic Lego battle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Happy Birthday wishes

The best cards are made by your kids!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Football and tears

We are a sports family. My husband coaches and my sons play. What we play has changed over the years and with the kids but a constant has been football. A lot of that may have to do with the town we live in. Football is the town, or I should say county. We live in a county that has the biggest high school rivalry in our state. It is legendary. Hours before game time, and I mean 4 or more hours here, people begin tailgating and filling up the stadium. Children are educated from infancy on what team they are for, what colors they will wear and who they will associate with depends on that information. Along this same story line, running underneath it actually, is the irony of two small middle schools that compete against each other until that pivotal 9th grade year when they combine at one of the two county high schools. Then they all wear the proud red and black to fight against that other side who dons gold and black. That side of the county has only one middle school. That little middle school, it has only one feeder elementary school, is where I am proud to say my children have attended, are currently attending and will attend in the future. Last week my oldest spent what may his last game as an assistant coach for this team. His little brother also plays for this team. It was emotional. I kept it together. Until the next morning….when I saw his post on facebook and then this mom lost it. Here is his post. "Look at the record and the stats and this was a season to forget. And most people probably would. But I would say to those people that they are missing the point of what a coach’s true job is. Sure it’s great to win games, but I believe that our main job is to help develop and grow our players not only as athletes but as members of society. Winning is great, don’t get me wrong. I love it. But when winning becomes my soul purpose as a coach, I want someone to take away my whis…tle. This year I saw a group of young men and lady grow from week to week. They never gave up and always fought hard. And after each and every game they were smiling. They had fun playing this great game that I love dearly and probably saved me from becoming a coach who cares little about anything but winning. For that I am thankful. And because I don’t know what the future holds for me, if this happens to be my last year at Bethel, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I love each member of this team dearly from the guys I coach with, to the players and managers. Each one of these young people will hold a special place in my heart. Especially my War Pigs, who, for some, I was able to coach for their whole middle school career. To them I wanna say thanks for putting up with a sometimes crazy almost bipolar like coach and thanks for giving me lots of laughs and good times. To all the other players on this team, thanks for believing in me, the other coaches and yourself, and promise me that you will never stop fighting. To the guys i coached with who i know view as brothers, thanks for helping me learn the ropes, I don’t know what I would have done sometimes without yalls support. To all of the faculty that I interacted with at Bethel, thanks for allowing me to come back and coach for 3 years at my home. To all the parents, thanks for entrusting me with your kids, it’s been an honor. And to God, thanks for allowing me to do something I truly love and that is coach kids in football and life. Again, look at the record, and we didn’t accomplish much this year. But look at the kids, and we accomplished a lot." ‪#‎BlueDemonFootball‬ ‪#‎Family‬ ‪#‎WarPigs‬ ‪#‎KeepFighting‬ see what I mean!

Names

Having spent my life with an unusual name, I had a lady once tell me that “aren’t you too old for that kind of name?” I feel that I can speak with confidence on this topic. I get it, your precious is special, unique and one of a kind so why not bestow on him/her a name that fits such a child. But here is the catch…..ALL CHILDREN ARE SPECIAL!.. not just yours. Sure be unique, be creative, but keep in mind that your child will carry your cute idea for life. As a teenager just trying to fit in, as a young adult trying to get a job, and as an elderly person. Do you really want to your child to spend his/her life spelling their name to every teacher, government office, potential employer or even friend? And if you decide to go with a ‘normal” name…please please please by all that is holy spell it the regular way. There is nothing worse than an Ashley explaining to everyone “No, It’s A..c…h…l…i” As a teacher I would love having a class list that I could actually pronounce without input from the parents. Now I love my name and actually get upset when I hear other people with it ( I know it’s weird) but just until the past few years it was that unique. My name also has a family story with it so I am possessive about it a bit. As a child though, I was not happy with having to explain it constantly and there was also the added bonus of explaining that , yes historically it was a boys name, but I am girl!.. I wanted nothing more to blend in sometimes with the Karens, Lisas and others of my generation. As a parent I believe that I did well with three of the 4. Sorry #2, that poor child’s name has now become the new unisex name and he gets to say “I’m a boy” to the form filler-outers, online community. The other three have names that are familiar but not common and so far none of them have had kids with the same name in their classes. Success! _20140919_122406 I would like to say thanks to the people I have known with the following names: Latodjala, Yavonka, Persephone, Orphelia, Airley, Yamileth, Hercules, Arrow, Rocky, Myrcial, Drago, Jazmyn, Barkkley, Kanissa, Aryian, Browley, Arasmus, Chioki, Cevan, Enzo, Nayada, Chia, Atlas,Viala, Jericho, Forbes, Ivory,Kaniyaa, Persuval, and Zephyr! Good luck.

And this happened......

So my son had a truck. And the truck has a story that must be told. 7 years ago a close friend of mine lost her husband in a tragic accident. After the dust settled, we bought his old ’95 Dodge Ram, red and silver for my oldest son’s first vehicle. It was a great truck for a high school country boy to have. This truck was previously used by a welder and was now being used by a football playing, fishing, hiking and mudding teenager. Yeah it got awful gas mileage and the some of the items on the instrument panel were iffy and temperamental, but it got him from point A to point B with no problems . As parents we were not concerned if he got scrapes and scratches on it. It was proudly decorated with the school parking sticker, the school emblem and a sticker of a football helmet with his number on it. Son graduates, goes to college and passes truck to younger brother. Younger brother loved the truck the minute older brother drove it home and he quickly made it his own. He redid the head liner in camo, (of course), got seat covers in black with camo trim, added lights and an American flag sticker, saved his money got a camper top, added more stickers for the areas he hiked, places he visited and things he liked. This son is going to college in Auto, so tinkering with this truck was just the thing. He enjoyed changing the oil, and replacing all the little things that broke and even some that didn’t. Now the truck was also used to haul his drum set, his bicycle, things for his friends and it was his camping spot when the ground was too wet or uncomfortable. This truck was his second home. It carried, always, his tools, his school books, his camping gear and fishing poles, all his mementos from his girlfriend and who knows what else. He jokingly said that everyone has new nicer cars but him , but who do they call when they want something done ….him and big red. One day at work I received a call from an unknown number and for that reason almost didn’t answer it. When I did I heard this son’s voice thin and shaky, “mom the truck caught on fire.’ Not understanding the complete damage I asked where was his phone, who’s was he using to call me? At this point he broke and said it’s gone, it was in the truck. This phone is the guy who stopped to help me. After getting that he was okay and not far from home, I knew his older brother would be by there shortly on his home from class. We arranged the details and I went back to my class. About an hour later I got these pictures and several more from my oldest son’s phone camera and I went to my knees.
That is the truck…or what is left ! and my child walked away from that unharmed. Not a hair burned. He said the flames broke through the fire wall and were up the driver’s side door when he got off the road and was struggling with his seat belt. The fire department was a mile down the road and could see the flames before they got the call. When he said its gone he wasn’t kidding. I don’t know what else was happening that day, but a miracle happened here. And I am grateful and will praise God for his protective blessing.

What's for dinner?

If I had a dime for every time I heard that. I am sure that every mom dreads those words, myself included. Oh I have grand plans. I plan menus, sort through weekly grocery ads, gather coupons, use my e-coupons and generally look like I have it all together. I even have a favorite recipe board on Pinterest. But something happens between 4 and 6 pm every night. Reality. Who will be home for dinner, is an ever changing dynamic at my house. Each person who lives in this house , naturally likes, desires and dislikes different things. So no matter what you create, 2 out of 6, (at the least) will not be happy. More often than not I am inclined to let them fend for themselves and just make sure that we have lots of cereal and milk.

The ole' washer

Reporting from ____________: After a long and sometimes painful battle with dirty football uniforms, stinky socks and way to many bath towels, the family washing machine finally let go Wednesday night. It is survived by its life partner, the dryer, who is already missing its noise and endless supply of wet but clean clothes. The family is coping with the loss as well as can be expected, with the freezing temperatures hand washing in the creek is impractical. We ask for your support during this time as we may show up randomly at your home with a basket of laundry in hand. Please just smile and nod. Thank you

Snow Day

Overheard a conversation between my son and his friend this morning, friend called and asked “you got sleds?” yes “anybody on the hills behind your house?” no “we’ll be there in 30” "OK" Son and his friend are 19 years old. Proof that you are never to old for a snow day.

Little Things

I have no daughters so when the little girls at preschool want to play with my hair I typically let them. This is the usual result. I have Frozen to thank for bringing back the braid! And yes, those are monkeys on my shirt. :)

Passages

At the risk of sounding to sappy, I don’t do mush very well, I am going to venture down that road called nostalgia for just a bit. My kids are growing up. Yes, I am aware that is what happens, but somewhere along the way I got older too (nobody quite explains that to you) and slightly more emotional at things I used to roll my eyes at. This month (May) and the upcoming month of June are very packed for lots of people. These are months of proms, graduations, and weddings. And I am experiencing all three, some several times in this month and the next. It was all fine and dandy, before it involved my kids!! My oldest has graduated college and I am not sure when or how that happened. Wasn’t he just running around the house like this?
Tomorrow he will be in his best friend since first grade’s wedding, and my best friends son. We are not sure who became friends first, the kids or us. Either way we have been through it all together. The football games, the good and bad teachers, the friends who have fallen by the wayside, the dances, the dates, the trouble they got into, the fights they had, the weekend getaways…you get the idea, lots of history there. I will be a wreck as this man child that I have practically raised waits for his bride at the end of the aisle with my son standing beside him as he always has. Then for more dramatic effect I can glance to the back of the room and see son #2, (who moved from pesky little brother to close friend several years ago) operate the music and the lights with his girlfriend ( who I am pretty sure will be his wife one day) of 2 years sitting beside him. In the seats beside me I can hold hands with my husband (soon to be 25 years!) and look at my youngest who is going to start middle school in the fall and his brother who just asked his first date to the spring dance! Cue the crying mom! There are all kinds of parenting books, magazines and websites and blogs full of advice for parents of young children and rightly so. But this phase, this house full of almost grown, almost completed young adult type children is practically void of information, research and helpful hints. Where are the Dr. Spocks’s and Brazelton’s of this age group? Is it over when they enter high school, graduate high school, drive, get a job….? I don’t think so. I still need my mom! Maybe I’ll write the book……
Yeah, those three on the end are mine! All proudly dancing at a friend’s wedding. How fun to see them out there just being themselves and enjoying the moment. Sometimes the heart swells…

Zombies, Blood, Skulls and Cemetaries

There are lots of conversations that you never would think would be necessary or that you would ever have. And then you teach preschool! Some are funny, some are sweet , some are confusing and repetitive, others are heartbreaking. I have had too many conversations this year concerning death, zombies, skeletons , how various people die and blood. When pretend play includes conversations like “pretend the bad guy got me”, ” and you ran from the zombies, ” “and you asked “why are the skeletons there? what happened?”. When block and lego play leads to ” I’m building a cemetery” and “this is a grave.” When casual lunch and snack conversation have dialogue like “do you know how (fill in the blank with any historical person) died? He was shot in the head.” I am concerned, annoyed and shocked. Concerned that this acceptable and what the long-term effects may be. Annoyed that as a society we have become so desensitized that we forget that our children are still impressionable and sensitive to the environment. And shocked that more people are not outraged or at least upset. Maybe I am old school, but I do not believe that young children should be watching anything creepy, bloody, scary, inappropriate or nightmare inducing. No matter what! How does watching horror movies and ‘The Walking Dead” at the age of 4 benefit you in any way? I am also not a big fan of little ones walking, toddling or crawling around with skulls on their clothing, blankets and toys. Really? Can’t we find something slightly more uplifting and pleasant to adorn our babies? Innocence is so short lived and imaginations should not involve cemetery play.

Bridges

Earlier this month my class got excited about bridges. We read the Three Billy Goats Gruff, re-enacted clomping over a bridge, looked at pictures of bridges from around the world.
They then began to build bridges with any and everything that they could find all around the class. Some of their ideas were pretty incredible. The process of thinking things through was fascinating to watch. I enjoyed documenting their words, thinking processes and their finished products.
They used string, lots and lots of tape, paper, and the blue cardboard blocks under the string bridge are to represent water. They then played with it for several days, driving cars on it, walking animals and people across it, making up stories, etc. When children are given the opportunity they can lead their own learning experiences.

Dancing at a Wedding

The bride wore white and cowboy boots.

Differences explained by 4 year olds

For all of us out there who worry and stress about teaching diversity and acceptance in our classrooms, I have to share this over heard conversation. My kiddos had just returned from the playground and were at the sink washing hands… Child 1 : looks at waiting peer as she washes her hands ” I’m dark. What color are you?” Child 2: glances at her skin, then at peers skin, moves to begin hand washing and says “I’m the true color” Child 1: “ok” hops away to go play. And there you have it, as long as you are my friend does it even matter?

Cheese Money

New student today. Not shy at all, she was full of questions and very talkative after her parents left. “know why mommy and daddy have to work?” (Student) No why? I replied. “for cheese money” ( student) cheese money? (me) “yeah, are you afraid of mouse?”( student ) something clicked in my early Monday morning brain. Cheese, mouse, kids,…….Chuck E. Cheese “oh no, I like the mouse” I said. “Do you mean Chuck E. Cheese money?” “Yes!”, she said “cheec cheese. I went there.” So Yes, don’t we all kinda work for ‘cheese’ money?

Friendly Dogs

My sister in law has a very friendly golden retriever. He seems to be a perpetual puppy state and will chase a tossed tennis ball for hours. We visited them a while back and my sons stayed outside to play with the dog while the adults retired to the air conditioned living room. My sons and their child soon came in, the oldest two in a state of barely contained giggles. “that dog is so friendly”, my youngest addressed the adults. “he really likes hugs” At this statement the older two boys could not contain themselves anymore and began to laugh out loud. “yeah tell ’em what kind of hugs” one of them stated. My confused child looked at them and then at me before answering “he likes to hug my leg!” “he just kept on hugging and hugging it even when I pushed him off” “oh yeah he is super friendly” said one of the older boys who by now was in a fit of giggles. Looking at the adults barely suppressing their own giggles. I smiled at my child’s innocence and said “yes, some dogs are like that”. And with the eye look that only mothers can give, got the older boys to contain themselves and they left the room. Gotta love kids!
I am going to be adding posts from another site that is soon to be taken down. Thanks for taking the time to browse through them.

Beautiful Western North Carolina

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Scars

On my right foot is an odd shaped red mark. A scar. From grease from a wayward fried potato no less, it corresponds with the black dot that sits just below my big toenail on that same foot. That was the result of meeting the wrong end of a very sharp number 2 pencil that was left on the floor, and I am barefoot, alot. (See previous scar). I carry scars from childhood, from my children’s childhood, from wrecks, accidents and from carrying five babies within my body. I also carry other scars, most of us do, from life. Some are so deep, I do not remember their origin for they are such a part of me. Others are fresh and raw and with the right word or touch can either heal or re-open. These I guard out of fear of fresh blood. Others are badges of sorts. See, I have the mark but I have healed, I have persevered , I recovered, I moved on. My scars are small and inconsequential to everyone but me. Everyone has scars, marks of trespasses on their body and soul. Some are very bitter because of these marks of imperfection. Others are proud and will gladly tell the stories of their battles. There are still others who look with disdain on these imperfections and try to hides their own scars from the world. I think scars are beautiful for I am loved by one whose scars were caused by me! I am the one who should have them, but he took them for me. As a mother I would gladly take any scar,pain or wound for my children to save them from grief, but to take on that for someone who doesn’t acknowledge me, love me or know me? I admit I am too human for that kind of sacrifice and love. Thankfully my father was not. My Father, my God adored me from birth and gladly without hesitation took my scars. How can I not show him love for that!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dating??

Today my son was very excited to go to church.And it was all because of a young lady. A young lady that he has been talking about lately but not necessarily talking to. Like most 13 year olds he is not very talkative or demonstrative with his feelings, heck some days he isn't even very likeable. Immediately after Sunday school my child made his way to the sanctuary. While the adults are getting settled and situating young children, my child approached this young lady's father. He has never talked to or met this man but he boldly went up him and asked for permission to ask his daughter to the upcoming dance at their school. I was, of course, watching from across the room and saw a nod of the head and then I breathed a sigh of relief. Later I found that my son had also asked this gentlemen, after getting an ok, to keep this information on the "down low" as he was preparing a surprise way to ask her. I am not sure of the details of this surprise plan. I know it involves two teachers agreeing to let them out of class for a few minutes, posterboard, and maybe a friend or two to help. Please say yes, young lady. I know my child well enough to know that he must think you are very special to go through this process and put himself out there. Please say yes. Dating is hard. Parenting is harder.