Friday, February 22, 2013

I had a Dream

Well, the first dream come true was this in my kitchen last night.
The Captain in regular clothes, just messing around with his little missy- sweet.

Next dream, this about 4 weeks ago. One of my students had a dog about ready to have puppies. A few weeks back my student had the dog's name and her puppies on the prayer board.  It was a Great Pyrenees like Arwen.  Anyhoo, he said he thought they were coming that day, but none had yet arrived.  That was on Thursday. Still on Friday, no puppies.  That night I dreamed that my student and his parents came walking in class with a big galvanized bucket that looked like it had been picked straight up from the pig pen or chicken coop, hay and dried leaves and poo smashed all over it.  In my dream I'm wondering why in the world they'd be in my classroom with a bucket.  I look inside and there is a curled up white fuzz ball.  The father picks him up out of the bucket and shows me his leg, which has a vein, like what is on the inside of our wrist, well mine anyway.  He said, "You see that?"  "Uh, huh," I reply.  "Well, that is a flaw that keeps him from being a show dog, so we're going to give it to you. "  "Oh," says I nodding, while knowing I wouldn't know a show dog from a circus pony.  Then he tilts the puppy's head up and it has a black mask, you know, like the Lone Ranger, and it's grinning at me.  I wondered, even in my dream, why a puppy born to two white Great Pyrenees would have a black mask, but hey, I didn't really care, he was adorable and a gift and I needed a chicken dog,  fade to black, dream over.  I woke up smiling at that bucket and grinning dog.
Sooo, it was Catholic's School Week and we all were to attend a mass together that Sunday. Who did I sit by?  The family mentioned above. I asked about the dog and indeed she had eight puppies.  I told the Dad about my crazy dream and he said, "That's interesting, one of the puppies has a black mark on his face."  Seriously?  You are kidding?  Do the parents have such a mark? "No, no mark like that on either parent."  Wow.
I'm guessing you already know the end to this story and this evening I was able to meet my dream boy.
I'd like to introduce you to Strider.  What a handsome guy!!!

His siblings are quite adorable little dumplings as well.

 But this boy- the dog of my dreams.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

An Early Arrival

Look what happy surprise middle eastern winds blew in this morning.

Early arrivals aren't always welcome, but the earlier the better for this one.
Much appreciation for your prayers and support these many months.   We are so very grateful God heard and answered those prayers.
Welcome home Captain.  Lord bless and keep those still to come!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'll Have a Blue Valentine's Day Without You

I was worried that Ceece might be a bit blue with Sweetheart's Day and her anniversary coming so close together and the Captain gone.   I thought it might be fun to fix her a special dinner and  have the kidlets to wine and dine her. I believe it's important for them to know what goes in to celebrations. We've been getting ready for weeks, and you've seen some of it here and there.  I figured she'd enjoy it more with a couple of other friendly faces, so I asked Gardner E and Ms. Masterartist to join us.

We began with an individualized invitation
Lots of cutesy details.Bugg and I made napkin rings and bracelets. We visited the Dollar Tree and she fancied things up quite a bit on her $5 budget.  By far though, she was the fanciest thing at dinner, in both outfits.  She took orders and served and just about wore herself to a frazzle.

 Missy Bugg adding her pink petals to the table before taking a few outside to toss around.

Though this wasn't Bean's idea of the best of times, he put the luminaries together and helped cut up the garnish.
Bugg, in her evening wear, directed guests to the table and took their drink order.

Bean escorted his Mom inside.

 Gardner E trying on her fancy bangle bracelet.

This was no small order for a kindergarten student to record, but she took taking her mom's order most seriously.

She served every plate to the last.

Then slipped off her fancy dress and collapsed.

The luminaries were beautiful in the dark.

Ms. Masterartist said she could not recall when she had been so Valentined. Well then, success!
Hope your Valentine's Day was sweet.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year

Remember I am taking a course on East Asia.  As part of the class, I have to do a lesson plan for China,  Korea and Japan.  When I found out that the Chinese New Year didn't happen until this week of February, I decided we'd do a two week literacy unit on China. Each day students would read both fiction and non-fiction books about China, that would culminate in a New Year celebration.  Since it is the the Year of the Snake, we also studied and did informative posters about snakes.  Several parents contributed noodles, rice, egg drop soup,  chopsticks, fortune cookies, green tea, potstickers and wontons to add to our afternoon.
A few students had still had coins from our American Revolution Patriot Games.  Each of them received a traditional red envelope with a few more coins for the celebration.
I give away a lot of little prizes throughout the year and often end up with a few of several different things.  I decided this was a good time for spring cleaning.
My wonderful instructional assistant was  the Chinese Market Merchant and they had to bargain with her for their goods.

Students practiced calligraphy writing a New Year proverb.

Here we integrated more science, sketching our bulb in our journals and noting the growth.  One third of the bulbs were planted in dirt, one third in rocks, and one with flattened glass marbles.  We will chart the growth of our Paper Whites ( a Chinese good luck symbol) through the coming weeks.

We created puppet dragons and hats.
Lastly, time to eat all the good food, with chopsticks of course. Very entertaining.

It was a fun study. 
Happy Chinese New Year to you!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine, Oh Valentine

Working on some Valentine magic around here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Almost There

As we've ticked away each day of these past nine and a half months, I've rejoiced that we're closer to the Captain coming home, but today it still seems far away.  Today is his birthday and I find myself feeling, well,  feeling is a good word for it.  You know when all your nerve endings are vibrating, signaling a change in the air from yesterday.  I'm challenged to shift gears, onto the business of the day and off of my kid.  Of course, he isn't a kid, and would likely find my sentiment a bit on the crazy side.  I am sure no new concept, tee hee. But what do you do with feelings, they are there.  I would love if his birthday package came today.  I would love if you continue to pray for his safe return.

Happy Birthday Captain.

When SweeTee got a little exuberant with the glitter, Bean wanted to remind her of gentle shaking over dumping, but I reminded him that he glittered just that way at age four and there just wasn't any such thing as too much glitter.

Look at Little Missy New Do with that sweet face reminding me so much of the Captain.

 It cracks me up seeing this "creative" side of my brother. It wouldn't surprise me if it was his first experience with glue and glitter.  His was neat and tidy, like usual.  Are we related? Ha.

Bean wasn't so sure about all this heart business. You know he's an all grown up eight and a half.  He played along and contributed to the decorations. 

 This picture just looks like a wee one doing some wee cutting, but so very much more was going on here that endlessly fascinates me.  SweeTee has not done a lot of cutting, so I told her I had some scissors just for her and I would show her how to use them.  She was simply enthralled and her crafting was over and cutting was all she did.  Each time she picked up the scissors, she would concentrate on getting her thumb where the thumb goes and two fingers in the other spot, blades pointed out. This was a new challenge and she was going to get it, and she did.
Hope some glitter brightens your day today!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

We Have Declared Independence

For the past two months my students have been involved in a rather complex interact game about the American Revolution.  Throughout these months, they've read, dramatized, crafted, debated, basically lived a part of their day in the 1700's.
We began by creating some props to help us get into our parts.  The boys made tricorn hats from Dollar Tree pirate hats and sewed a neck ruffle to wear.  
My girls mad a kettle cap and an apron.  All of the student's did a tin punch lantern.
First, we broke into tavern groups and they created a secret handshake, tavern name, a sign, etc. Each tavern group was responsible to reenact an event that stirred up the revolution.  I turn them loose with boxes, construction paper and their imaginations and am ever floored by their creativity.

Throughout the many weeks of activities and research, they created a time capsule with artifacts that represented this time frame.  It was really astounding to me how the sharing of these capsules revealed how very much they learned of the events leading up to the war.
They even had an opportunity to be spies and create codes, hide them, find their contacts and try to figure them out.
Through the daughter of a friend, I met a gentleman who is a Son of the American Revolution (and I thought there were only daughters) who visited in full patriot regalia and shared with the students for an entire morning.
We read Johnny Tremain and My Brother Sam is Dead, watched Hollywood's rendition of "Johnny Tremain" and some of "1776"and compared them to what we had learned.
We ended by reenacting the debate, casting votes and signing the Declaration of Independence, traitors all!
While the material I used from the book Patriots was  a bit pricey,  thankfully my principal trusted that it would be worth it and it was.  I learned more about the American Revolution than I'd ever known and my students know ten times more than I knew as a fifth grader and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
All state standards fulfilled, never a text book opened, which to my notion, spells success!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Done, Not Quite

Well, today would have brought an end to our Catholic School's Week activities, but today was cancelled due to snow.  Though I had greatly anticipated the close of the week with Pajama Day and Family Fun Night this evening, it was not to be.  That will have to be rescheduled.  Still, having some serious sinus irritation, a day of rest was appreciated.  Rest was all I accomplished today.
Bean on the other hand was busy. Finally he had a long interrupted day to put together his Christmas gift. His wee hobbit hole is shaping up quite cozily.

Bugg, after our big Thursday playdate of Valentine crafting was also in a resting state as we all enjoyed a marathon of old Shirley Temple movies.

After our big Monday with Bugg's class, my students finished preparations for their Storytelling Festival, held on Wednesday.  Following an African tradition, they made a necklace with a bead representing each of the three stories they planned so share.


Folktales were the study of our last two weeks.  We studied both African and American folktales and compared our many tales.  Students were asked, before Christmas, to talk with family members and find a tale that has long circulated in their own family.  

Each child chose a tale from each category to share in the festival and  brought whatever they wanted to create a storytelling space and all the other students visited to hear their tales.  Afterwards, we sat for a time to reflect on the tales.  Overwhelmingly, the tales they most loved were the ones from their own family.  It made it easy to understand then, why so many American tales, resemble African tales. Those valuable pieces of family held on.  We also discussed how we knew if we were successful as storytellers, and I was surprised and pleased at how they read their audience.  All took it seriously and did a great job!
I actually did manage to finish off all of Ol' Mother Hubbard's scarves that I started before Christmas.  She was in the area and ran by to pick them up. 

From the looks of the weather report, they'll be needed for a bit longer.