Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

We spent six days in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The congregation here asked Jay to come teach their adult VBS class. 

This is Jay's second time here and Reagan & my first time.  It was great to meet the people he had told me about. 

1. We ate breakfast every morning at a place called Lybrand's. One of the church members owns it. It. Was. Delicious. Y'all. 

2. We visited 2 of the public libraries in the area. They all genrefy which I thought was interesting. 

3. We visited the nature center where I got spooked on a trail & scared Jay... all over a deer. Ha! I'm such a city girl!

4. The members took us out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most meals were served with dessert. I'm sure I gained 40 pounds this week!

5. We went to Little Rock and visited Center High the school where the Little Rock Nine attended. I don't know what adjective to use to describe what I felt visiting the school & the visitor center. It was emotional for sure. 

Tall Deck Chairs

We saw these tall deck chairs at a little shop in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where Jay is doing VBS for a congregation. I love these! They'd be perfect for out deck. If you sit on a regular chair the deck rail is right in your line of vision. These tall chairs would fix that problem!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Little Rock Nine

We didn't know we needed to reserve our tour tickets ahead of time so we didn't get to go inside the school. But we did get to go into the visitor center. What an unbelievable time in our nations history. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chatting With a Retired Librarian

I've been wondering what I'd blog about today. Nothing too exciting has happened recently and I don't really have anything in my mind. 

Then this morning at breakfast I had a wonderful conversation with a lady who retired from education after 43 years in 2008. Some of those years she was a school librarian like me. 

I enjoyed listening to her talk about how she ran her library and how she handled the students and teachers. 

I was sadden to learn that over her years in the library that other educators still thought all she did was sit around and read books. She said she always had to fight for that respect. 

I've said it many times, a librarians job is so misunderstood. 

Maybe we make our job look too easy. Maybe we are just too good at our job. Whatever the reason it seems like this has always been a problem. 

And that makes me sad. 

Anyway, I got off topic a little there. I wanted to ask the lady if we could take a selfie with her but for some reason I couldn't find the courage. She was a little intimidating and had some very strong opinions. I was a little afraid she might have an opinion about selfies. Ha! 

I wish I could of recorded the conversation and shared it here. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

With VBS last week at night and my days filled with other "need to do" things, I didn't have has much time to read as I normally do.

The only book I read last week was The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore. This is the second book in the Lorien Legacies series.  I really enjoy this young adult fantasy-alien series.  It's action packed with a little bit of love interest enter twined.

The Lorien aliens were attacked.  They sent 9 of their people to Earth. They are being hunted and killed.  Two of them are now together trying to find the rest so that the ones that are still alive can stay alive.


VBS-Five For Friday

1.  The children are soooooo excited.

2.  The rooms are decorated to the nines.

3.  The children are learning about 5 of Jesus' parables.

4.  It's so fun to see the children sing and answer questions about what they learned that night.

5.  It's exhausting for the teachers!  But so                                                                                   worth it!

Cleaning Up a Library

I have the opportunity to help clean up another library (The library that I have now was filthy and had tons of junk in it.  It took my family all summer to clean it up.)

I've been asked to come help clean up another library in a different district.

This library is a bit deceiving in that it's absolutely beautiful.  The reading nook has an awesome mural (it was never used.  I'd kill love a reading nook and they have one that was never used. Sigh) The table and chairs are new and clean.  The book cases are sturdy.  There is a small section with a couch and magazine rack.  It's just so pretty. I did suggest moving some furniture but really that's not a big deal.

Then when I started looking at the books on the shelves... oh my.  The non-fiction section is fine, but the fiction section has everybody books mixed in with fiction.  Most of the picture books are labeled as fiction. Some of the pictures books were pulled and put on a separate shelf.  These books were organized by color... yea, I didn't know that was a thing.

I asked if a teacher, student, or librarian searched for a book in the library system if the system indicated that the book was on, say, the orange shelf.  It does not.  There's no way to find a book based on what the system says.

All the Spanish and Bilingual books were labeled 468.  It took me a minute but I finally figured out they were organized by the Dewey number for the Spanish language.  So whether it as a Clifford book (everybody book) or a biography is it was labeled 468.  I nearly had a heart attack.

The sad part is most of the libraries in this district are probably just like this library.  This district doesn't have (for the most part) certified librarians.  They put the instructional technologists in charge of the library.  They have paraprofessionals who run circulation.  This district prefers their instructional technologists to have a library science certification/degree but it's not required.

So this very simply explains why this library is in the shape it's in.  They don't have certified librarians.

I could get on my soap box about why schools need certified librarians.  I could rant that administrators think just anybody can run a library, it's just putting books on the shelf right?  I could go into a rage about how it's such a disservice for students to not have a certified librarian.  I could even complain about how some certified librarians don't show their worth.

But I'm not... maybe in another post.

For now I'm concentrating on how to put this library back together and have it fully functioning for the students.  I'm also focusing on what information and resources to share with the paraprofessional to teach them how to run a library that truly serves it's school.

I am so sadden by the state of this district's libraries.  I'm sadden that this is not the only district who doesn't see the importance of having a certified librarian.

I'll be consulting with this school next school school.  I'm hoping to make a big impact on this school and a small one on the district.

Here's to me doing my part in proving the need for certified librarians.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

VBS is this Week

VBS started this week at our church.  Our theme this year is Parables of Jesus.

This pictures what greets the children as they walk in the foyer.  They each get a name tag and are shown where to sit in the auditorium.

Each classroom is decorated for a particular parable.  The teachers teach the same parable all week and the children rotate classrooms so that they complete all the parables by the end of the week.

My good friend, Marcie and I taught together. We taught the Parable of the Sower.  I wrote the lesson and searched Pinterest for decorating ideas and activities.  You can read our lesson here if you're interested.

The door is (of course) what the children see first when they walk in.  It gives them a little preview of what's to come.

I wrote on the white board.  Our acronym was TEACH.  Do you like my ear drawing?  I had to do a google image search for how to draw ears.  Ha!
Marcie decorated all the walls.  She used her cricket to make the cut outs.

This wall is the wayside ground.

The rocky ground.  Marcie had some broken up concrete to use as rocks.

Marcie and one of her kids went through the woods behind their house and found these thorns for the thorny ground.
And finally the good soil.  Marcie cut out flower.

I think she did an awesome job decorating!  Decorating is my least favorite part of VBS.  I like writing the lesson.  I like finding activities and I like finding ideas for decorating.  I just don't want to have to do the decorating.

We make a good team!

Monday, June 20, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax

I finished this book early last week.  I really liked the strong women in this book.  I like watching them take the bull by the horn and get things done.  I liked watching them grow.  I liked watching them struggle.  I also like the happy ending.  We all need some happy endings in our lives.  If you need a good beach read this is the book for you!

Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

I love Richelle Mead's books.  Vampire Academy and Bloodline series are my favorites.  So when Mead started a new series I jumped on the boat.  The book starts out a little slow, you have to learn the back story before the story can get underway.  I like reading about made up worlds with hints of real world territory.  I like the royal feel to this book.  BUT after 29% (according to my Kindle) of the book I just couldn't get into it.  I tried.  I mean I really tried but I just couldn't connect with the characters and I didn't care enough about them to find out what happened in the end.  I do think this book is right for someone.  I totally see the appeal but it's just not for me.

Sticking with my beach reads I read Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand. This book takes place on Nantucket Island.  I loved reading about the beauty of the island and island life.  One of the main characters, Deacon, dies suddenly.  You are taken back through his live via his three wives, three children and best friend.  In the end I felt so sorry for Deacon and the mess he made of his life.  I liked that the the story was told from the point of view of seven... or eight characters.  It was interesting to see how events unfolded and was perceived by all the different characters.  This story also made me so glad my life is so drama free!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tired of Some Decor

I'm tired of the decor in some of the rooms in my house.  I'm not tired of the wall colors.  I guess I'm tired of the fabrics and the decorations.  So this summer I'll be working on the following rooms:

1. Dining room: In the 7 years we've lived here I've never been happy with this room.

2. Reagan's bathroom: We've had the same shower curtain and decorative towels for all of Reagan's 12 years.  I changed the rugs and pictures and that helped for a year or so but I'm just tired of the red.  So we are changing the accent color from red to grey.  The bathroom will be yellow and grey now instead of red and yellow.

3. Our bedroom: I still like our white quilt and purple walls but I'm tired of the curtains, pillows, and bed skirt.  I think I'm going to change those out with zebra print.

4. Our bathroom:  I'll change out the rugs and curtain to match the bedroom.  I'm also going to remove the pictures on the wall.

5. Some wall decorations in the living room;  I'm tired of the mirror over our couch.  It's a bit out dated and needs to be changed.  I'm not sure yet what I'm going to put there.  It's the biggest wall in the living room so it's going to need something sizable.

Thankful Thursday-Nurses

While Reagan and I were in Houston she broke out in some weird red whelps all over her forearms on Tuesday night.  It was no where else but there.  Luckily it's not itchy.

My mom and went over everything she's eaten, touched, used and there was nothing new or different we could think of.  We have no idea what it could be.

My bestie, who's a nurse, is on vacation and although I know she'd text back if I needed her I didn't really want to bother her.

So I texted my brother-in-law, who's also a nurse.  I sent him a picture and we started a regiment of Benadryl and Hydrocortisone.

Wednesday Reagan woke up with her arms looking worse.  I started texting my brother-in-law again.  This time we added a cold compress.  By mid morning the whelps were looking better but still there.  I called her pediatrician but she didn't want me to bring her in just yet.  The nurse wanted me to continue what we were doing and only come in if Reagan becomes miserable and itchy.

This morning the whelps are still there but their not as red.  I think their about the same size though.  So we will continue the Benadryl, Hydrocortisone, and cold compresses. And hope for the best.

Today I am thankful for all the nurses in my life!

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

This is a great beach read.  It was engaging yet... simple.  But that's not quite the right word.  Anyway, it's about love, loss, passion, and family. Annie Colwater's only daughter leaves for college.  Her successful husband announces he's in love with someone else.  Annie decides to head home to Mystic Lake, Washington to stay with her dad.  She runs into old friends and rekindles old relationships.  This time away from her husband and LA reminds her who she is as a person.  She realizes she can no longer be what her husband thinks she should be and things need to change.  But life is never that simple.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax

I haven't finished this book yet but his is another great beach read.  This might be my summer theme, beach reads.

Three women are affected by one financial manager who does the Ponzi Scheme with their money.  Part of their settlement is getting a 1/3 of a mansion on the coast of Florida.  If they fix it up they can potentially sale it for $5 million.  An unlikely friendship forms between the three ladies one stay-at-home mom, a HGTV personality, and a dating guru.  The story is about love, loss of money, loss of family, friendships, and a bonding.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

While Reagan Was Gone

Five For Friday

1.  Worked a little in my library, grocery shopped, & had my oil changed.

2. Cleaned the house & went to the movies. 

3. Ate all the foods Reagan doesn't like since she's at camp. 

4. Took a day trip to Gladewater, TX for a little antiquing. 

5. Read with my house completely silent. 

Thankful for This Week

Reagan's been at camp this week. The beginning of the week was hard for me. I struggled with not talking to her at least once a day. Struggled with not knowing if she was ok or not.

Then a friend from church dropped off her grandson at the same camp a day late. She texted me that she saw Reagan, hugged her, and asked if she needed anything. Reagan said no and that she was having a great time and told our friend what all she'd been doing.

It was a huge relief!

I'm thankful for the time this week that I've gotten to spend with Jay. We haven't done anything terribly exciting but just being together as a couple sans the kid is always nice.  

We've eaten all the foods Reagan doesn't like. Gone to the movies. Gone to Gladewater, TX for a little antiquing.  Rented movies, read, cleaned the house, and taken care of each other. It's been... nice. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

We dropped Reagan off at camp Sunday afternoon.  3 out of 4 of us Houston Girls were there dropping our kids off.  We got some group pictures.  We are missing one little kid too young to go to camp (he stayed with my parents) and one other family.

The dads pictured here are the original Guys' Baseball Trip guys.  It's been a couple of years since they've all been able to make the baseball trip at the same time.  This is the first time they've been together in a while.  

We didn't get to spend much time together in the rush to get the kids set up in their cabins and get back on the road but the few minutes we did have were priceless! 

Love these people!

End of Year Library Reports

In our districts the librarians do an End of Year report (EOY).  We have a document of select Texas Library Association Standards.  We rate our libraries based on these standards and share them with our principals.

The job of a librarian is such a misunderstood job.  We are so much more than a book distribution center.  Doing an EOY helps the librarian see where the library need to improvement.  Plus it helps our principal see what we are all about.  It can also be a document that we can use to show our principals why we are asking for library related services, money, items, etc.

We have also been encouraged by our lead librarians to do an infographic.  As informative as the EOY is, it's kind of dry and even a bit limited.

An infograph can really showcase all the awesome extras we do that can't be measured in a standard. I looked at the infographic I did last year and realized that I basically regurgitated the same info from the EOY and added a few other things to showcase.  This year I decided I didn't want to repeat the same information from the EOY on my infograph.  I really wanted to showcase some of the awesome things that happened in our library this year.  The only information I did include that was the same was the amount of books checked out this year.  In my infographic I did a graph so the information is presented differently.

Here's my infographic (I don't know how to make it smaller to fit the space. If you know how, tell me!):

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished Charm School by Nelson DeMill this past weekend.  I really got wrapped up in this book.  In all the different agencies like CIA, Intelligence, spies, etc.  What a different world than what I live in!  I really enjoy these books because they take me to world I will never be a part of.  All the secrets and lies.  I'm not a paranoid person but it does start to make you wonder about your own government!  You can read a summary of the book on last Monday's blog.

I finished Iced Kissed: The Kanin Chronicles, Book 2 by Amanda Hocking.  I really enjoy this young adult series.  It's fun, it's easy, there's some mystery, it's paranormalish (I say "ish" because they are trolls but they look so human that they can pass in the human world).  In this book one of the Troll tribes' queen goes missing.  They call in an ally tribe to help with their security and finding their queen.  Finding the queen ends up causing more questions.  I have the last book in the series on hold.

I finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith this weekend.  I'm not sure what to write about this.  I really like this YA book.  I liked the story of a young couple having to decide if they are going break up or not before going to college.  What I struggled with were my own emotions.  It's really hit me pretty hard that after next school year my daughter will be in high school and we only have 4 years left with her as a permanent resident in our house.  So reading this story of these 18 year olds leaving for college, well, it was a struggle for me.

I started Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker.  But I stopped reading it.  I read three of the letter but was so confused by them.  I had a hard time following the train of thought.  Some of the letters she wrote to people she knew and others were letter to people she didn't know/never met.  I could never figure out which was which.  So I gave up.  It has a 3.98 rating on Goodreads.  And there are many reviews saying how much they loved the book but I just couldn't get into it.

I finished Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre. This was a cute beach read. I loved the main character, Summer. Her sass reminded me so much of myself except I don't think I'm as cute with it as she is. Ha! The story was told from two points of view which I always enjoy. It's a romance novel, the unlikely pairing of a country girl and a mega movie star.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thankful Thursday-Growing Up

Friday afternoon one of my Nacogdoches girls sent a group text saying she was picking up her youngest for the last time from the babysitter's and she was close to crying.

All four of her children have been in the care of this babysitter.  She's been a part of their lives for 10 years now.  Her youngest will start PK at the elementary in her district in the fall and this babysitter will no longer be a part of their daily lives now.

That got me thinking about Reagan.  She'll start 8th grade in the fall.  One more year till high school.  HIGH SCHOOL people!  How in the world did we get to one year from high school?  I really don't know.

We only have 5 summers left together.  That hurts.

So after reading my friends text I started panicking.  Like chest hurt, hard to breath.  I don't panic but I did Friday night.  My little girl, my baby.  One year from high school.

I'm taking this soooooo much harder than I ever thought I would.

Please don't get me wrong.  When she mouths off or rolls those eyes I can't wait for her to go to college. But this week she's been at school with me.  Her choice!  This is the second year she's chosen to come to work with me the last two weeks of my school.

It's fun to watch her interact with my students.

During a presentation she had about 5 kindergarteners sitting around her.  Playing with her hair, sitting as close as humanly possible.  One little boy smells her hair and exclaims "Your hair smells so good!" Hilarious!

We've had fun together these two weeks and it makes me want to hold on tight!

This reminds me of the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end".

Today I'm thankful for my daughter and the 5 summers we have left

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

A little "throw back" to 2010 when Reagan was 6 years old and Maggie was 3.