Month: November 2008

His longest sentence…

 - by emaroo

So, if you know Jack, you know the kid is a serious talker.  I mean, look at his parents…no doubt where he got that from.  He has been saying little short sentences for a while, but only like 3 word-ers…usually starting with “it’s a…”.  “It’s a kitty”, It’s a truck” etc.  Yesterday we were getting back in the car after church and Jack noticed his snack cup that on the way to church had animal crackers in it (he calls them cookies).  He picked it up, looked inside and then said to Alan, ” ‘er no cookies in ‘er”.

So, along with his ability to recite and identify all of his letters and count to 14 (identifying about half)…I’d say he is well on his way to taking after his daddy…who was reading at the ripe old age of *3*!

I have to say, that brilliance runs on BOTH sides of the family, however.  Alan can’t claim it all!  Now, if I can just teach this kid to know his colors!  He has shapes down…but colors…come on!  Your mom’s an art teacher for crying out loud!!

Jack’s first camping trip

 - by emaroo

This past weekend Alan and I decided to brave the cold along with some of our good friends to go camping at Possum Kingdom Lake.  Most everyone else got there Friday evening but Alan and I weren’t able to get there until early Saturday afternoon…just in time for some bitter cold wind to blow in.  We bundled up and enjoyed ourselves, none the less!

We missed spending much time with the Bustard family as they came in Friday evening and left shortly after we got there.  Luckily we did get to spend some good time with the rest of the group.

Alan took Jack on a long hike that afternoon and when they returned Jack’s cheeks were purple from the wind and the cold, but he didn’t seem to care at all.

I will say that many will try and say that what we did wasn’t really camping given that we stayed in cabins…but I really couldn’t care less.  It was cold and there was a campfire…so it was camping in my book! Actually, I have never camped in a cabin before, it has always been in a tent, but with kids, this was really the best way to go.

Enjoy some pics!

Nathan wearing his mommy’s hat

Alan and Jack back from a hike

Kurt and Andrea…

Eric, Kerri and Nathan (I made them promise that they would use this on their Christmas card this year…we will see if they will follow through! haha!)

Keeping warm by the fire

Our new friends Nikki and Ken

Jack exploring

The gang

Harrison  and Jack

Jack playing with his new best friend, Kurt

Kristine, Jason and Harrison

Until next year…


Way to go Anna!

 - by emaroo

After roughly 2 weeks my sister is finally going home from the hospital.  I haven’t posted on here about all that has gone on mostly out of respect for her privacy and because it has been such an exhausting time that I haven’t really had the energy to rehash it all.

My 34 year old sister had multiple strokes a couple of weeks ago and has been in ICU most of that time.  Miraculously, she still has pretty much all of her motor and speech skills in tact.  I am unsure of her long-term care or other precautions she will need to take in the future but I am sure she will get all of that upon discharge. 

I know this has been a hard time for her as she is not used to being held down.  I am just so grateful for God’s healing hand.  He is AWESOME!

Treasures in winter coats

 - by emaroo

It seems like every year when I put on a jacket or coat for the first time in the fall/winter season there is some little treat in the pocket.  Sometimes it is just a receipt or on a good day, money.  This morning, given the 100% chance of rain, I pulled out a raincoat from my closet.  I did notice it had dust on the shoulders, but couldn’t remember exactly when I had worn it last.  Instinctively, the first thing I did was put my hands in my pockets.  Inside I found something that took me back a little farther than last winter.  I pulled out a ticket for the London Underground.  Alan and I went to London and Paris in March of ’06, about 2 months before we got pregnant with Jack.  I showed it to Alan and even he got nostalgic.  Yay, for little treasures.

Teaching the Teacher

 - by emaroo

I have been assigned a student teacher this semester.  She has been with me for 4 weeks now and has 3 more to go.  I always love having the student teacher because it helps me remember some of the “basics” as far as how students learn and how to command attention and respect.  More importantly, it reminds me of how far I have come and how scared I was in the beginning.  I have been doing this for so long, that I forget sometimes “how” or “why” I got to where I am.

Teaching is hard…really, really hard.  People who think it is just an easy 8-3 job have no clue.  It becomes your life, these kids become your own.  The most important lesson I have learned is that the content that you teach is actually very little of what you really teach these kids.  My job is to teach them to have respect, to care, to start something and finish it and be proud of it.  If they learn to sculpt or paint along the way…that is a real bonus.  If I could just come in everyday and teach art and the kids loved every minute of it…I would do it for free.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.  Many of the kids don’t care, they don’t have respect, they are taught to not ever be proud of anything they have done because that puts the spotlight on them, and socially and culturally, that isn’t “cool.”  That is what makes every day a battle.  For four years I taught middle schoolers…well, let’s say I tolerated middle schoolers.   The good thing about it, though, is that they toughened me.  They forced me to not take their behavior and lack of respect personally.  For the first couple of years, I did take it personally.  I would have meltdowns after school.  I wondered what on earth was supposed to be “rewarding” about this career.  I hated it.  I hated that I hated it.  Then I learned that the kids acted like they didn’t care because in most cases no one showed them that they cared about them.  They were acting out because even if I reacted negatively towards them, I reacted.  They got some personal attention.   This was a huge light bulb, “a-ha”, moment for me.  When I learned this…is when I learned to really teach.

The problem with that is…I don’t know how to teach my student teacher that.  I don’t think I can.  I think that only time and more tears will teach her this.  People told me a million times when I started to “not take it personally”, to “never let them see you sweat” etc…but you have to experience the frustration, pain and hurt feelings before you can truly learn those things.  It is the harsh reality of teaching.

Yesterday was the first meltdown day for her.   She was so upset that the kids didn’t care nearly as much about her lesson as she did.  She doesn’t understand why she would put so much work into a wonderful lesson for them to not respect her or listen to her.  My first couple of years I was the same way.  The problem is, they don’t teach in college about how to manage a classroom other than materials. They don’t tell you that most of your kids won’t show you they care until they know you care about them.  We would have a lot fewer teachers if they did. It is making me sad to watch, but I know she will be a better teacher for it.

The key is…they need to know you love them.  They need to know that they can screw up one day and have a fresh start the next.  They don’t really care how much you know about art, or reading or math…they need to know you want them there.  Only then will they learn anything about your content.  It sounds lovie-dovie and touchy-feely, but it is the truth.

The other thing that I am really trying to teach her is to have a sense of HUMOR!  Sure the kids poke fun at me all the time, but I dish it back.  Even if I was offended…they will never see it.  A good teacher has got to be laid back enough to take a joke or make a joke out of a tense situation.  I couldn’t do this job if I didn’t know how to laugh at myself.

I hope my student teacher can begin to learn these lessons now, but I am afraid that it will just take some time and maybe a few more tears.

Happy Halloween!

 - by emaroo

Jack had a great time with his cousin Hunter ‘Trick or Treating’ last night.  Of course, he doesn’t really know what candy is (thank goodness) which means all the more for Mommy! haha!  It was funny when we went to a house that was handing out packages of crackers.  You should have SEEN Jack freak out over the crackers!! “Open cackers peas!” The longer I can keep the concept of “candy” from him…the better!!

Enjoy the pics…

Enough of the hat!

Hunter and Daddy Robert posing for Mommy who was in Texarkana at Uncle Jimmy’s service and couldn’t be there with us.  We missed you!!