Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who's That Knocking At My Door?

Every time that I lay eyes on my youngest daughter, Erika, I am filled with the most intense feelings of love that I have ever had in her little 22 years of life. It's a kind of love that I've never experienced before. MY baby is having her own little baby. The body that I formed in my own belly and brought into this world will bring another little body, a girl like her, here as well...a part of me. A part of me! Coming from her. Wow. It is often overwhelming to me that this is even possible. And, it fills my heart to overflowing in a way that is impossible to explain. I wonder...did my mother feel this way when she looked at me while pregnant with Melissa, myfirst child? I would like to think that the answer is "yes". I'd like to think that she experienced this same intense kind of motherly love for me. That would make me very, very content and happy.

(Eloise...your grami is waiting...hurry up June 6th.
I made you a pair of red shoes! Come and get them!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


She walked into the classroom with her hair in two braids that had been loosely plaited by her second grader sister. They were really cute but very, very loose. I could tell they were about to fall out at any minute. She fought them all morning trying to keep them "in". My hands that had carried me through mothering two daughters began to itch. My brain was shouting "Go help that child for Heaven's sake." When I couldn't resist any longer, I asked her, "Do you want me to fix your braids?"


So, I got busy on that little head of hair. I didn't have a comb but I did the best I could to make the center part straight by using the tip of a pen. Instead of regular braids, I threw in a little French! Oh, and a ribbon from my cupboard.

My feelings that came to me really surprised me. I missed my little daughters who used to LET me do their hair. I missed the morning struggles to "look beautiful" each day. I just missed my little time spent as a single mother with two small children.

Melissa. Erika. PLEASE let me do your hair this week when you come over for Sunday Dinner! Please?


PART TWO! (or, maybe since they are "French Braids" I should say: PART DEUX!)

In the middle of doing Chloe's braids (in my own little world of nostalgia) I noticed other little girls watching me longingly. Uh oh! Had I created a beast? I did some very quick thinking then said:

"Guess what? Do you see what I'm doing? This is going to be one of our new rewards. If I draw your name from the tickets you earn, you can choose to have me do your hair!"

..."ooooooo, ahhhhhh" was the reply.

"I'll even do yours Anthony!" (Budump Bump!)

He didn't really go for that one.

Great idea, right? I'm kind of excited about it. (We'll see how I feel in a couple of weeks! :) )

not before I did ONE more:

Which she promptly told me were "too high!" And, "I want them to look like an Irish girl."
WHAT? What does an Irish girl's hair look like?

So I fixed it with a set of regular braids, that she totally loved. "Well, THAT'S more like it!"
(yes, she seriously said that!)

My little Cybil and I are best of friends now. I hear "I love you Mrs. Anderson"! And I love and adore her as well. (more about the transformation at a later time...right now I just have to bask in the sweet joy of her transformation)

I LOVE this picture. I told her I wanted to take a picture from the side. So, she only smiled on that side.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Dirty Life!

Did you know that I was raised on a farm? Yup. It wasn't a huge farm where our whole livelihood depended upon but, rather, a place for my dad to teach his sons to work! We had a big barn, a couple of cows, some chickens, lots of sheep, barn cats, mice, and a horse or two. I have many fond memories of bottle feeding the lambs and having them shake my whole body as they sucked the milk. The touch of those warm eggs straight from the hen is a sensation I will always remember.

One night, I was about seven or eight, in the wee hours, my pops woke me up and told me to come with him. A ewe was giving birth and wanted me to "help" him. It was, up to that point, the most amazing thing I had ever witnessed. I was horrified when Dad slapped on an elbow length glove and shoved his hand into that sheep to grab ahold of the lamb. He actually pulled it out. All of this took place on the soft hay under the warmth of one lightbulb. That was a feeling I will never ever forget.

My parents had an enormous garden. I loved the gooseberries, strawberries, potatoes, lettuce, peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, raspberries (oh! those raspberries straight off the vine!), rhubarb, carrots, and radishes. We worked and worked and worked on that garden. I hated weeding, but we always helped Mom and Dad pull the weeds and harvest the spoil. If you've ever picked a carrot, rubbed the dirt off as best you could, and popped it in your mouth, you know what heaven tastes like.

I always pictured that my adult life would be exactly like my childhood farm life. It's not. It's not even close. I made a good effort when I lived in Lehi and we had a beautiful, large garden...until Clay "weeded" for me and pulled up my prize lavender bushes! But, that's another story! I really want to have a garden this year but I've got those dogs to fight with. I know there's a way. But, I can always find an excuse.

Until now! I just finished a wonderful book. It's called: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristen Kimball. I LOVED this book. It is written by a woman who was a big time writer in NYC. She was assigned to write about local organic farming. She went to one farm in Pennsylvania and badgered a farmer named Mark. Then fell in love, started a farm together, worked together, fought with each other, and married each other.

I am taking away the eternal truth that hard word brings forth blessings. As I read each page, I was amazed at the dedication of this couple to their goal. I can do a fraction of that and plant a couple of plants...can't I?? I'll check in later. In the mean time, watch this video, then go buy the book and read it. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I just can't help myself...

You know those pictures that really stick with you once you see it? This is one of those pictures for me. After I saw this this morning, I couldn't stop giggling throughout the day whenever I thought of it.

This is little Miss Alexis (Lexy), daughter of my nephew Taylor. I snagged it from her mother, Natalie's, blog. Thanks for making my entire week Nat!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maybe It's Just ME!

Have you been following my teacher stories? Well, I never intended for 'this' blog to be a teaching forum. That's what this place is for. However, I can't really express my feelings "over there". I must do so here! Copy?

Back to the title of this post..."Maybe It's Just Me". Something is going on in my classroom. It's BIG! Just when I thought I had Miss Cybil figured out, another child steps up to take her place. I have several students who are completely baffling me. Here are a couple of examples of the random behavior today in Room 6:

Cybil had a slight breakdown while we were practicing addition flashcards. She spent the ENTIRE time whining: "I HATE flashcards. Why can't I just put a 6 in my head and then put up five fingers and count them?" Five weeks ago, I would have gone to battle with that six year old. Now that I "understand" which buttons to push and which ones to lay off of, I knew that I needed to let her sit in her chair, crying, mumbling, and fuming. It worked. I left her alone for five minutes. As a result, I got a HUGE hug from her at the end of the day.

We made our March calendars today. We make one every month and put important dates
like SPRING and Day Light Savings Time change and (of course) birthdays. One student asked if we could put her dad's birthday on March 19th! We get a lot of that. The one that made me pretty much giggle myself silly was this one:

Miss A: Ummm...I think you forgot a birthday.
Me: (frantically checking over notes for the one I missed) No, I don't think I did.
Miss A: HELLO??? It's Justin Beiber's birthday, TODAY!
Me: Sorry, no!

I caught one little girl tickets! I use little tickets for my behavior management. They earn them and then have the chance to pick a prize at the end of the day if their tickets are picked. Each child usually earns 1-2 tickets per day and there are NEVER more than 5 per day (unless they bring a boxtop and then they get a ticket for each boxtop). I am not exaggerating when I say that this little girl had about 75!! I asked her about it and she denied, denied, denied.

Now, for the real kicker of a statement. This is what made me think that maybe, just maybe, it's MY fault and not the students' when things go down the toilet. I have a little male counterpart to balance my little Cybil. We'll call him "Chucky".

So, Chucky came to school mad. From the second he walked in, I could tell that things weren't going so well. I can always tell by the color under a child's eyes. His color looked awful and I immediately began to worry. During the first hour. Children work independently while I work with small Reading groups. Chucky used to be quite the pill but, of late, has been awesome. Today was different. He started running around the room and throwing paper all over. I made him come and sit by me to "cool down". I also had him write in his journal.
I got a lot of shrugs, fist waving, eye-rolling (not as good as Cybil's), and "GOSH!!!" es. I just tried to ignore the behavior. He finally switched over to his learning/nice boy self. However, when he wrote "i hate my lif. i am not hapi" it pretty much melted my heart.
On with the day. I thought he had hit the bottom for the day but he hadn't. He got right in one of my girl's face and screamed "GIRLS SUCK!!" and acted like he was going to punch her. I kept him behind while the rest went to music. Chucky started sobbing. I sat with him and tried to get to the bottom of it all.

Me: Chucky, I care about you and love you but you can not continue behaving like you have been today. Wah...Wah...Wahhhh (cue Charlie Brown's teacher voice) I can't allow it. (mind you, I was being very, very stern so read that last part with the right expression)

Chucky: I don't care. I don't want you to be my teacher any more. I want to have Miss Bush (my current student teacher from BYU) be my teacher. You're mean!

Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. I'd just like to know what happened. You came into the classroom this morning all ready to learn and to have fun with your friends and then you started misbehaving.

Chucky: Ya, but then YOU showed up!!

I swear he said that to me!

Well, we chatted a while longer and ended with a big hug. Turns out, his home life isn't stellar right now, even worse than usual (I'll post his story another time) and his entire mood changed. We got back to the classroom and I put him to work handing out papers and cleaning the floor. His whole countenance changed. He was a little ball of oozing love.

It worries me that a little first grader can change so suddenly from one second to the next. I am stunned by these children. They are quick to forgive. They just want to be loved. I can do that. Also, I was reminded of my new speak softer and be a little more gentle with these six year old feelings.

I love these little human beans!
(misspelling IS intentional)

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