Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Together Time

Since we moved to Nacogdoches 7 years ago Reagan started staying with my parents after Christmas. I look forward to this time alone with Jay all year long.

These 2 1/2 days alone together is a time for us to reconnect. Reconnect as a couple. Reconnect with NOTHING. Else. Going. On. To remember each other. To focus on only us. To put each other first at all times (for 2 1/2 days anyway).

Sunday with worship services we just did the usual. 

Jay knows that as an only child myself I crave alone time so Monday & Tuesday morning he worked in his office until lunch. I love that alone time. It doesn't happen often so I treasure the moments! 

Monday we went to lunch and saw "Daddy's Home". It was a stupid, cute movie. A typical Will Ferrell movie. Mark Wahlberg was yummy eye candy. I had a thing for his brother Donnie when I was a kid... Ok, I still have a thing for him. Ha!  We laughed a lot during the movie but if you aren't in the mood for a stupid cute movie don't go see it. I usually like Will Ferrell movies so I enjoyed it. Neither of us felt like going out for dinner so we just ordered a pizza. 

Tuesday we met my parents and Reagan 1/2 way between Houston and Nacogdoches.  We ate lunch then unload my parent's truck and loaded up ours with all of Reagan's stuff.

She had a great time as always! And so did we!

One Word

Last (school) year I participated in an Education Learning Series that principal Todd Nesloney put together. Back in January 2015 he suggested picking one word to focus on for the year instead of making a New Years resolution (that I NEVER keep). Click here to read his blog post.

Last year I chose the word change. I'm not one who hates change but I still thought this word would be good to focus on. 

This year I chose positive. I've noticed that I've let negativity creep into my life. Why is it so easy to be negative and so hard to find the positive? So that's what I'm working on this year. Positive. 

I'm going to hang this Piktochart in my office and closet as a daily reminder to be positive.

Do you have a word or resolution you'll be working on in 2016?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our little family! 

And our extended family!

Left to right: my granny, my mom, Al (my granny's boyfriend), Reagan, me, my dad, and Jay

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gingerbread House

Making a gingerbread house is tradition at my in-laws house. Reagan & my nephew work on it. 

This year was different though. Nana bought a PREMADE HOUSE. PREMADE PEOPLE! I can't tell you how much easier this made our lives. #firstworldproblems 

It seemed that nothing we did to get the walls to stand up worked. It didn't matter how much icing we used or how long we waited for it to dry. The walls ALWAYS collapsed. Always. 

But not this year! The kids were immediately able to start decorating. And the walls stood straight!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Taking Care Of Myself

I've taken some time this break from school to take care of myself. I did a face mask that made my face feel amazing! I soaked in a detox bath. It was so relaxing. 

Reagan and I got shellacked. My shellac usually lasts 2-2 1/2 weeks so I wanted something wintery not Christmasy. 

My nails (my carpel tunnel is acting up... that's why I'm wearing my braces):

Reagan's nails:

We headed to Tyler. Maggie got in the truck, they had the whole back seat and Maggie sits right on top of Reagan. Silly dog!

Last I got a massage. It. Was. Amazing. I haven't gotten a massage in years. She focused on my hands because of the carpel tunnel and my left shoulder because it's been hurting. 

It's so nice to take some time to take care of myself!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Break Teachers!

Dear Teachers,

May you have a fabulous break!

May you turn off ALL your alarms (yes, I have to set an alarm for everything otherwise I forget). 

May you sit and enjoy your coffee. 
May you eat lunch in more than 30 minutes. 

May you pee when you need to pee. 

May you plan nothing. 

May you read a book FOR YOU. 
May you take care of yourself. 

And most importantly, May the Force be with you. 


Star Wars

***NO Spoilers here!***

We saw Star Wars Friday afternoon! It was awesome! It was so good to see some old friends and meet some new ones. 

The audience interaction was great. We clapped and gasped and flashed light sabers.  Jay did his Wookie impression, everyone laughed. I love when an audience "participates"! 

I cried. Cried when I saw the old friends. Cried when I.... Well, I don't want to spoil it. I cried a lot. 

Saturday morning we were laying around the house and decide to go see it again! It was better the second time. We had some questions answered that confused us the first time. And we were able to focus on "background" things. 

I didn't cry as much the second time. 

My Star Wars shirt didn't come in in time so I had to borrow one of Jay's. Below is the shirt I ordered.  I had to have a little Harry Potter represented. I got mine in brown since Wookies are brown. 

Reagan made herself a Wookie Duct Tape purse. I wanted one too but she ran out of brown Duct Tape. 

521days till Episode VIII! Too early for a count down? Ha!

Friday, December 18, 2015

17th Anniversary

Taken at Cabana Bay Resort in Orlando, FL

Jay and I have been marry for 17 year today. 17 years!  It doesn't seem possible to have been married for 17 years, to have known each other for 20 years.

We married the same day as my parents and my maternal grandparents.  As my mom has worked on our family tree she found that my granny's great grandparents were also married on December 18 but my granny had no idea. My parents have been married 45 years today.  If my papa was still alive my grandparents would have been married 67 years.  We have great examples of good marriages!

Southern Plantation, Missouri City, TX

We were babies when we married.  I had turned 22 in October and Jay had turned 22 on December 1st.  I look at the 22 year old college students at church now and I can't image them old enough to marry. But it worked for us.

In 17 years, we:
  1. have lived in 2 apartments
  2. bought two houses
  3. left Nacogdoches when I graduated, moved to Houston, moved back to Nacogdoches for Jay's job
  4. bought 4 cars
  5. had a transmission rebuilt
  6. have gone on 11 vacations
  7. had a daughter
  8. got a dog
  9. buried one grandparent
  10. had 7 jobs (Jay-shoe salesman at JC Penney's and a preacher for two different churches Me: Deaf Ed teacher for the West-10 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf [RDSPD], for the Northwest Harris County RDSPD and for the Nacogdoches RDSPD and a librarian)
  11. changed careers once (me-Deaf Ed teacher to librarian and Jay-working for Penney's to a preacher but I'm not sure that's really a career change since working at Penney's was never a permanent thing)
  12. got a Master's degree (me)
  13. lost friends and gained friends
  14. never had credit card debt
  15. put a new roof on our current house
  16. had one broken nose (Jay)
  17. followed God in all that we do
17 years of marriage has been everything I thought it would be and absolutely nothing I thought it would be.  That's how life goes isn't it?

I'd do anything for Jay and can't image my life without him.  He is my all.

Happy Anniversary Jay!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Junior High Bible Class

Normally at church I only teach the baby class (9 months old-2 years old) or the 2 and 3 year olds. These are my favorite ages so any opportunity I have to be with this age group I grab it.  

This teaching quarter I decided to step out of my comfort zone and teach the junior high class (my daughter is in this class and I haven't taught her since she was 3 years old).  We only have 3 kids in junior high so it's not a big class.  I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed teaching them which is dumb since tween's are another favorite age of mine (I really miss working with the junior high Deaf students).

I like making them think, getting them to consider Biblical things they might not of thought of before, and watching them gleam some new information out of a "story" they've heard all their (short) life. I like seeing them move from the "stories" of the Bible to really getting into the meat of the Word.  

I also like their sarcasm, their sense of humor, their attitudes.  Sadly, their sarcasm, sense of humor and attitude are scarily similar to mine. Ha! 

I have to admit I was worried about my Bible knowledge.  I'm not as confident in that knowledge as I should be.  And really, no one knows everything at all times.  It's ok for me to say "Let me study on that a little before I answer you."  I haven't had to say that but knowing I have a fall back line helped me through the first few weeks of our class.  Our time will be coming to an end in January.  I really look forward to teaching them again.

Lego Club

I have a LEGO Club I do during grade level lunches once a month at school for Pre-K through 5th grade in the library.

I really enjoy sitting and eating with the students.  One of the things I miss about being in Deaf Ed is having a close relationship with my students.  I never had more than 8 Deaf students at a time so I was able to really get to know my students and their families.  I was able to buy them birthday presents and Christmas presents.  Now as a librarian I have 489 students.  I don't have the same relationship with my students as I did as when I was a Deaf Ed teacher.  So these clubs help me get to know some of the students a little better.

They always talk about the funniest things while we eat.  I love watching them interact with each other.  There's one little boy who always talks with his mouth full.  I usually correct him but I guess I've done it so much one of his class mates has taken to correcting him.  It's pretty cute, she corrects him so politely.

This club has opened up some of my quieter students.  Playing/building seems to help them relax and talk more.  Some prefer to just talk to me.  It is fun to have an adults undivided attention!

As I was taking this picture one of the students sitting and chatting with me asked if she could photobomb the picture.  I cracked up!  She's a first grader asking me to photobomb. Ha!


Our Friday night plans got canceled so we changed our plan to... nothing!  Absolutely nothing. Sometimes nothing is a plan.  We needed a night of nothing!

Saturday afternoon we went to a recital of one of our college students from church.  He plays percussion. I was a flute player in my high school band but percussionist still amaze me.  I really enjoyed his recital.  There was many friends from church there to support him.

Saturday night we went to a friend's house for a Christmas party.  This is the one time a year we get together as couples without children.  Without! Children!  Between the 7 couples there are 14 children ranging from 12 (mine) to 2 years old and one on the way.  So a night without 14,000 interruptions is fabulous!

This first picture was taken with a bluetooth selfie stick won during our White Elephant exchange...  I asked my fabulous mother-in-law for one for Christmas. Ha!

Yeap, that's my husband with the lamp shade on his head.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Student

I had a new student yesterday. I showed him around the library and explained he could check out 5 books. He got excited about that. 

After he checked out I explained he could go to any station he wanted & told him about each one. 

I have:
•a LEGO wall
a box of puppets
rugs, bean bags & a small tent to read in

He said "This place is awesome! So much better than my old school. We just lined up & sat quietly after we checked out. This is the best!" (his school was in another district). 

That is my why!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Not Enough Time In December

There's just not enough time in December.

1-Jay's Birthday
2-Bible Study
3-College Bible Study at our house
4-Senior Saints Party
7-Reagan's Christmas Program (both sets of grandparents come to town) & celebrating my mom's birthday
8-After School Genius Hour
9-Bible Study
10-Parent Night at my school & doctor appointment 
12-Christmas Party with friends (no kids!)
15-After School Genius Hour & Christmas Party with ladies from church
16-Bible Study
17-Choir Concert at my school and a friend's birthday party
18-Our 17th anniversary and Star Wars!
22-Getting nails done
23-My mom's birthday
21-31 will be filled with family time strung out between 3 cities
31-New Years Eve party at our house with friends

It's not that this isn't fun stuff it's just that there so much!  I want to do it all but there's no time to just breath.  It stresses me out.  I thought I was going to lose my mind getting ready for the Senior Saints party but I kept my cool and didn't snap at Jay or Reagan while they were helping me cook.

Really if I can just make it to the 18th without losing my mind then I'll be ok. The 21-31 will be fun too, being with family, even if we are driving all over Texas for some of that time.  And after Christmas we'll have some relaxing days.  That's what I'm focusing on!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Senior Saints Party

Every Christmas season for more than 29 years the "middle aged" couples at the church my husband is preaching at right now have a Christmas party for the Senior Saints.  Three years after he started working with this church we started hosting too (although we weren't and still aren't middle age).

We have about 40-50 seniors attend and 18-22 couples help host.  It's a big party done up right!  We rent a nice place in town that can hold all of us and has a kitchen for us to prepare plates.  Each couple is in charge of a recipe that we double or triple depending on the servings.  We all chip in to rent the venue, paper goods, table clothes, postage, etc.

As the seniors arrive we have someone take couple (or individual) pictures.  It's a nice way for them to remember the night.  The hosts can have their pictures taken too.

Appetizers are already on the table when they arrive for their munching pleasure.  We serve tea, water, coffee, and wassail at this time too.

Once everyone is seated we serve the plates. This year we had chicken, green beans, rice, merry berry salad and rolls.  When we are m done with dinner we head to the dessert table and pick our dessert.

After stuffing our faces eating some of the musically inclined play their instruments while other sing along.

Dominoes are broken out too!  42 gets played at most tables.  I used to play with my grandparents and Dad.  It's been awhile and I'm pretty rusty so I don't play with competitive people. I just play with those that just like to have fun.

It's a great night:
  • for the younger (middle aged) to serve the seniors
  • to show our gratitude for them
  • for the seniors to be served after a long life of serving others themselves
  • for the seniors to just play 
  • to just be together

Reading in the Wild Slides

Since I've been talking so much about the Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller book study I thought I'd post my presentation for chapter one.  I'm "cheating' with the other chapters.  I asked the other librarians in my district if they'd send me their presentations for the chapter they led last year. Everyone shared with me so I don't have to reinvent the wheel.

I used Google Slides because it's so easy!!!!  I love all things Google.  I especially love that since I have a Mac and all the other librarians in the district have a PC I can use Google Slides and pull up the presentation at any school I'm at whether its a PC or Mac.  And if the internet is down I can still pull it up on my iPad or iPhone using the Slide app and use it offline.

This was not suppose to be a commercial for Google! Ha!

Here's the presentation link if you're interested in looking at it.

Reading In The Wild

I've mentioned here before that I'm leading a book study on Reading In The Wild by Donalyn Miller for the reading teachers at my school. I'm super excited about it! I love this book and Miller! There are so many things to learn from this book.

We had our first study this week. One of our Pk teachers told us that she has already started doing some of the things in chapter 1. She made time to for her students to read in her class. She also read at the same time so her students could see her reading too. She said she was shocked at how quiet and engaged the students were. If some one started talking she'd say "Shhh, 'Ms. Jones' is reading." and they stop. 

Today I had another Pk teacher stop me and tell me she redid her schedule to include more independent reading time and had given the new schedule to the principal. She asked me to pull some short engaging chapter books. I pull three, Hank the Cow Dog, Junie B. Jones , and Nate the Great to try. I have a couple more ideas that she could read aloud to them if those don't work.

I can't wait to see what other ideas we/they pull and implement from this book.  I'm even more excited to see the great changes that will come from it.

On a side note, the librarians in the area, both public and school librarians, have been meeting together trying to build a community of readers.  One of the things we are doing is taking pictures of people reading and attaching the hashtag #NacReads.   I think this is perfect timing to go along with this book study!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I probably should put Nearly Wordless Wednesday. I've been trying to decide how to blog about our vacation to Universal but the right words just aren't coming. Simply put, it was amazing! Just awesome! So here's my photo dump. 

Reagan got chosen at Olivander's Wand Shop!

You can just barely see Jay's shoes while passing through the barrier at platform 9 3/4. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

What Are You Reading?

I just finished reading Tricky Twenty Two by Janet Evanovich. I love the Plum Series! I started reading her books one summer and read all 19 that were out at that time. I look forward to each new one. I love Stephanie's incompetence at her job but she keeps doing it. I enjoy the love triangle between her, Ranger & Morelli. Lula, Grandma, and Mom (Mrs. Plum), what's not to love about these women?!? 

I'm part of a book launch group for a book called Raising Grateful Children in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. This is my first time to participate in a book launch and I'm super excited! This book is a total slap in the face. I don't feel I'm entitled. I feel like I've worked for everything I have but this book is making me wonder!

For my student book club I'm listening to Nightmares! By John Segel. This book takes the nightmares of a young boy and makes them real. He actually has to enter his nightmares in real life. What a scary thought! I can't wait to discuss this book with my students!

For our librarian book study I'm reading Making the Match: The Right Book For The Right Reader at the Right Time, Grade 4-12 by Teri S. Lesesne. Dr. Lesesne was one of my professors when I was getting my masters in library science. I'm on chapter two. I'm learning a lot about matching the right book to the reader. I never thought about the pitfalls of recommending books that don't fit to a already reluctant reader. 

I'm also leading a book study for the reading teachers at my school. We are studying Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. I read this book with the librarians last year. Yesterday afternoon was our first meeting. I'm really looking forward to applying what we learn to our reading classes. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Had To Get Custard

I took Reagan and my nephew to get Andy's Frozen Custard... in the rain... cuz Andy's is worth it!

What Are You Reading?

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (the fully illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling last week. The illustrations are amazing!  It took me a little longer to finish this book because I would just stare at the pictures. They are so detailed. The pictures of the people made me want to stroke the page like I could really feel them. I can't wait for the other books to come out (one a year for the next six years). 

I started The Heir by Kiers Cass. The title should of told me that the series was going to have a new main character but... I'm just so unaware sometimes! After I read the first few pages I had to google the book to make sure I was in the right series. After reading the Cass's blog post about the series I realized that I was indeed in the right series but we are now reading the story from the daughter's POV. I'm on chapter three and really liking the book so far (now that I'm not confused). 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Read Alouds

Last week I read Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh to 3rd through 5th grade. This book is on the Texas Bluebonnet Nominee List. Tonatiuh tells us the true story of Sylvia Mendez and her family's fight to desegregate the schools in Orange County.  I started every lesson with a statement like "We are going to read a book that covers a sensitive subject. As we read we will stop and discuss some of the situations we read about." Students never cease to amaze me! Their insight on Sylvia and her brothers being separated from the white students and forced to go to a Mexican school was... well, deep. Their understanding of segregation and the injustice of it amazed me. We compared what Sylvia's family went through with other times in our nation's history. They brought up people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges. I highly recommend this book!

I read My Teacher Is A Monster (No I Am Not by Peter Brown to Pre-K through 2nd. This book is on the Texas 2x2 list. This is an excellent read aloud. Bobby has a problem... his teacher Mrs. Kirby is a monster! Only when he meets her outside of school he realizes she really is human. We had so much fun with this book! Mrs. Kirby starts out looking like a green monster. But as Bobby realizes she's not a monster Mrs. Kirby starts to change color and starts to look more human. Sometimes students would notice these changes on their own and would frantically wave their hand in the air (I highly discourage frantic hand waving) to tell me about the changes. Other classes I had to point it out. The most fun questions I asked was at the end. I asked students if their teacher ever turned green. Then I'd ask who made their teacher turn green. Some students were so funny! Man! Their hand would fly in the air, they totally owned their behavior. Others sat there sheepishly with a little grin on their face while other students (good naturedly) pointed at them. I got some real insight to some of our teachers! Ha!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nothing of Substance

I'm having blogging block. 

Is that a thing? Like writers block...? I don't know. 

Not much has happened in the last two days. Just typical stuff. Staff meeting, Bible study, work. Nothing exciting. 

I need to relish the nothingness cuz the holidays are coming up quick. And life gets a bit hectic. 

So here's to nothing! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

School Showcase

Some of the administrators from the district came to our school today. We had the meeting in the library. And of course I had to decorate! With the help of some of the other faculty we made the library shine! 

We served them drinks and muffins before the meeting started. 

And after the meeting we served them lunch. 

During the meeting our principles talked a little at the beginning of the meeting then turned the meeting over to the school admin team and me. 

Each person talked about what they are doing to help improve the school, like student test scores, reading abilities, positives behaviors etc. 

I showcased the library. My heart started beating like mad seconds before it was my turn to talk! I had to take some deep breathes to calm myself. But once I started talking about what I love I was totally in my element! I talked a bit about what a typical library period looks like. I showed my book check out statistics and how they are continuing to go up. I showed how much my Book Fair sales have gone up from the last three years. And I ended with technology in the library as well as me being the communication person for our school. 

I was asked if we had enough books per student. The answer to this question is misleading. The answer is yes we do but, and that's a big but, the age of my collection is very old. So even though we have more books per student than is required they are not necessarily quality or current books. When I explained all this admin said they'd be able to help me in this area. 

It seemed like everyone (district admin & school admin) were very pleased with the way the meeting went. We are making great improvements to our school!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

We had a fun Halloween! We spent the day laying around the house listening to the rain, reading, and watching Netflix. 

That night we went to a friends house for family fun!  It stopped raining so we were able to take some of the kids trick or treating.