Sunday, September 30, 2012

A peek into Lana's school day:

I had the super fun treat of helping Lana's class make applesauce last week!
The students came to me in small groups, washed apples, and chopped them into tiny pieces before dumping them in the crock pot full of cinnamon and sugar:
 I love getting to hang with my girl in her class on Thursday mornings!  Mrs. Moorhead lets me do such fun things, and really interact with the kids.  It feeds my teaching bug.  :)  I love how my girl always chooses to squeeze in right by me for whatever activity we're doing.  I love listening to her teacher do her thing - when I tell you that Mrs. Moorhead is one of the best first grade teachers I've ever known, I mean it.  

Below is an email I recently sent to the principal:
Hi Mrs. Sanders,

I got to spend the morning volunteering in Mrs. Moorhead's classroom, and I have to share with you how thankful I am that she is Lana's teacher.  She is really something special - every single time I get to be in her classroom, I walk away amazed.  She is one of those people just born to be a teacher.  Not only does she love it, but she's just so darn good at it.

Her patience is extraordinary.  There is one particular friend in their class who requires lots of extra help and attention, and she never wavers in her ability to firmly, calmly direct and redirect (and re-re-direct!) him.  Lana even comes home telling me about how they celebrate with this friend when he experiences hard-won success!  That is speaking VOLUMES to my daughter, about how we love people who are not always easy to love.  The day-to-day classroom environment is utterly positive, even when she is having to discipline and manage behavior.  In many classrooms that I've seen during my career, teachers try to manage with fear....fear of color changes, missed recess, phone calls to parents, etc.  She is managing them with firm, consistent positive regard.

She smiles and laughs with them.  She uses a sweet-natured humor to encourage them.  She doesn't treat them as something to be managed, but instead like people that she really, really enjoys, and they all just blossom under that.  Every child should be so lucky to have just one adult in their life who treats them this way.  She is organized and handles her classroom efficiently, but she's wise enough to know that it's no good to be uptight, and her laid back attitude influences her students in the best way possible.

She is committed to her students learning....AND loving learning!  She works hard to ensure that everything they do is fun and engaging - even the things that aren't.  :)  She insists on them developing appropriate independence and learning to trust themselves.  They are not just learning standards....they are learning how to think - how to learn.  That's something that won't be forgotten.  She takes the time to provide them with the "extra" experiences and fun that are often difficult to fit in, in this age of testing and scoring.  Those kids are getting to be FIRST graders.

She meets each student right where they are, and challenges them to improve, to learn, no matter the level they are starting at.  My Lana is pretty bright, and so one of our unvoiced concerns is that she's being challenged.  I haven't said a word to Mrs. Moorhead about it, but she has already assessed my sweet girl, and has spoken with Lana about the kinds of books she should be reading and how to challenge herself.  That is music to this mama's ears!!!

My daughter gets off the bus everyday skipping.  Literally.  We get inside and while her brother naps, we have a snack together and she simply bubbles over about her day and what they've learned and what Mrs. Moorhead did or said.  I feel like we've won the teacher lottery!  Mrs. Moorhead is more than we could even ask for in a teacher, and I want you to know how very, very pleased and thankful we are.  She is something special. I learn something about teaching every single time I'm with her.

I know you probably get to hear negative things more often than positive, so I just wanted to make sure you know that this family is overwhelmed with what a wonderful experience we are having at Lipscomb and in first grade.

Have a great afternoon and THANK YOU for all you do!

While I was in the classroom for the morning,
I snapped some pictures of my girl, hard at work:
click on any picture to enlarge
Can't you just tell by these pictures how much she loves school?  She really is thriving, and it's because she has a teacher who is willing to meet her where she is, and encourage her to keep learning and growing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A word for my daughter.

Precious one, before you were created in my womb, your Father knew you.
Jeremiah 1:5
He numbers every hair on your head.
Matthew 10:30
 Before you can think a thought, He knows it.
Psalm 139
Before the foundations of the world were laid, He chose you to be His child.
Ephesians 1:4
He loves you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
 He answers the cries of your heart.
Psalm 10:17
 The Lord your God takes great delight in you, He quiets you with His love,
 He rejoices over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
 You are a daughter of the most High King.
Psalm 82:6
 You are His princess, from a royal priesthood
I Peter 2:9
You were lovingly sought out, pursued, purchased with a price.
I Corinthians 6:20
He gave His very life for you.
John 3:16
God wants your life to be a reflection of His glory, and He has prepared good works in advance for you to do.  Ephesians 2:10
and if one of those works is marriage, He longs for it to be an earthly representation of His love for His heavenly bride, the Church.
with a special, chosen man who will seek you, honor you, love you, protect you, pastor you.  
Ephesians 5
with the same fierce, everlasting devotion that your Father has for you, the apple of His eye
Psalm 17:8

And this is why, dear daughter,
if we ever catch you saying these words to a boy:

          Hey I just met you, And this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe
          All the other boys try and chase me, but here's my number, so call me maybe

We will immediately lock you in the attic
and you will not see the light of day
until you are 30.

Directory photo

I am so excited that we are having a Heritage directory made!
I recognize most people by their faces now, after being here for a year, but I don't always know the names to put with the faces.
It'll be so good to have a pictoral directory!
And it was fun to have a family picture made:
Can we just mention how adorable Tucker's smile is?
And how grown-up and beautiful Lana looks?  That HAIR!
And how handsome my husband is?  That smile still makes my heart skip a beat.
And how I should have worn a darker lipstick?  And more mascara?  :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

From the mouth of Tucker

This guy.
He makes us laugh every single day.
  • We were at church to take our pictures for the church directory.  We met the photographer, and in typical friendly-Tucker fashion, he greeted the gentleman with a warm "Hi!  I'm Tucker!"  The problem was what followed...."You have a weally, weally FAT TUMMY!"  In his defense, the stomach in question was right at his eye level.
  • Tucker negotiating bathtime:
    • Me: Tucker, when we get home, we have to bathe you.  You had so much fun playing and got so sweaty!
    • Tucker: Oh, Mommy, look - I just wipe my fweaty off!  Look, it's all gone.  That fweat is all gone.
    • Me, laughing: Well, that's good, buddy, but we have to wash it off with soap and water or you'll be smelly and gross.
    • Tucker: But Mommy, I LIKE my fweaty!  I want to leave it on!  I want to sleep with my fweaty!!
  • Sliced black olives are "wheels."
  • We've been working on Tucker calling his teachers "Ms. Carla and Ms. Laura" instead of just "hey, teacher!"  I was reminding him again on the way to school, and he said "But Mommy!  They always just call me "class!"
  • Dan was trying to get him to sit still and do something in slow motion, and he said "But that's too HARD, Daddy!  That's why, because I have so much energy!"

Friday, September 14, 2012

slips, slides, and snails.

Don't you think the greatest joy is often found in the simplest pleasures?  
The births and the weddings and the graduations and the house buyings and sellings and new cars and fun vacations....they're all wonderful, to be sure.  And they bring lots of joy.  (They often bring lots of stress, too.)  
But the sweetest, most unadulterated kind of happiness is usually the simplest.
Long walks.
Ice cream trucks.
Holding hands.
Porch swings.
Clean sheets.
Unexpected kisses.
Just simple things, that don't cost much or require much.

Last week, for our family, is was an afternoon of slip and sliding and a morning of snail watching:

Precious.  Beloved.  Chosen.  Designed.

snails.  grass.  water.  sticks.
Intricately created.
Knit together by a God who knows all and sees all.

It's impossible for me to look at any of the pictures on this post without catching my breath.  He made it all.  And He loves us.  It's unfathomable.

Psalm 104
Praise to God the Creator!