Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Willy Nilly Weather

Lands, that ol' saying, "If you don't like the weather in the Ohio Valley, stick around it will change."
Boy, will it ever!  Today is seventy, but by midnight it supposed to get wild and wooly and by the end of the week, back to 20.  Oh, my poor head.
This week at school is about like the weather.  Nationally, it is Catholic School's Week.  Our principal requested we take our service out into the community.  If you haven't ever tried it, I'll warn you- it is difficult to find a place willing to let 22 children come and "serve" for a whole morning.  My wee Bugg had been bugging me about a visit to her class. That sparked an idea!  In support of literacy, we could be pen pals with her class.  I'm blessed to be friends with her teacher and she agreed.  I knew Bugg was beginning writing, such a challenge for some kindergarten kiddos.  I am a big believer in writing for an authentic reason and prompt writing is something I only do during testing prep.  So we started to write back and forth.
Next we prepared for our visit.  My kids made the little ones a bunny adventure book to put a story in.  Then they made several sets of storytelling cubes for the class.  We took a big stack of bunny books.
I taught my kids to sign "This Land is Your Land" for Veteran's Day and Bugg learned that for their celebration as well, so we prepared to sing it with our pen pals.
So, in our lime green Fiesta shirts, we boarded the bus for another school.
First we sang, then I read Knuffle Bunny to the class.  After the book, my kiddos helped their pen pals create a storytelling manipulative to retell the story. Together they colored and cut out laundry and a knuffle bunny to put in the washing machine, on which the door opened.  There was a pocket in the back to store the items.
 Then we accompanied our pals to lunch.
After lunch we continued the bunny theme with four centers.  In the center below, the student's chose a bunny book and their pals read to them.

This was the Bunny Tale Adventure, where my kiddos helped their pals write a story of a pretend bunny of their own. Bugg's buddy Livvie, is writing down her ideas. 

 My kids had stamped wooden blocks.  Together they rolled the blocks, then made up a story using that pictures that came up on top.
A special vistor made an appearance in the last center.  Bugg wanted Mr. Merry to visit.  Each little one who wanted to patted the bunny and learned about bunny behavior.  We made a list of words that described our fluff ball.

Lastly, we shared a cookie- a bunny one of course, and a juice box and bid goodbye to our pals.  When we returned to class, my kids wrote a note about the day to their pal. It was sweet how the letters changed after actually meeting and spending the morning together.
I have so many adorable pictures, but I don't show faces of other kidlets on the blog, especially ones who don't even know me.
An exhausted teacher/Gramerly, a happy Bugg!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Big Un's a Brewing

Wow, it supposed to drop to ten degrees tonight. It was a bad night 30 years ago as well, when everything was frozen, tree limbs were popping off and electricity was out all over.  I was having babies, yes, two on that day so long ago.  Happy, happy birthday to my youngest Drummer Boy and Rae!
Saturday was wonderful for almost all the day long.  I slept in, had a long bath, went to the library and came home to find a sweet little sprite in my yard, Giddy-up, so happy to be soaking in some sunshine and feeding chickie girls.
Some inside play fixing motorcycles with Pap.  Love that sunshine streaming in. Wish you could see the whole picture of colors bouncing all around the room from the crystal in the window.

A few weeks ago, an old friend- Ms. Berrynice,  was deep cleaning and passed along to me a set of Raggedy Dolls she'd been given.

Ahh, giving the dolly a smooch!

 Giddy-up has a thing for sitting and folding chairs.  He wanted all of them unfolded and we sat Ann and Andy in the a chair and he chose one for himself."  Umm, is that dolly waving his hand at me?
 Then more unfolding until all of us were seated in a circle.  Only a precocious 22 month old could orchestrate all adults and dolls in a circle singing his current favorite song, "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain When She Comes.
Oh, time to pause and give all circle participants a big lovie.  Thanks Ms. Berrynice for sharing such a sweet gift.

Yesterday morning I went to visit Lois in rehab. It is surely amazing what a bit of red blood cells will do for you. She's walking and doing well.
 On the way I stopped to get a drink for us at Micky D's.  The young man (he looked like he was 12) who gave me my drinks had the most melodious deep voice, think Morgan Freeman. I said, "Wow, you have the loveliest voice. You need to be in radio."  My comment produced the biggest, best smile that shot my morning full of sunshine.  Words are so powerful, aren't they?
Peace and love my friends.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mid Winter

Well, I guess it's midwinter.  The sun is shining and it is supposed to be 54 today.  A week ago Friday it was 70 degrees and Monday it is supposed to be 10. Between 70 and 10 we had a big snow and then ice and sleet, which I happened to be caught in. Ugh. My sinuses are driving me around the bend!!
Thankfully, I've only had one out with the flu so far.  I personally find that miraculous with 24 bodies in one small classroom, but I am grateful and pray for continued good health.

I scored a rice krispie treat snowman kit after Christmas for 75% off and the kidlets enjoyed making and painting their snowmen.
Oh my, that edible watercolor is a little scary.  They thought those blue and green tongues were the bomb.   
Look at that kitchen table.  Food, drinks, snacks, seed catalogs,  books and more books, and let's stack another book on top of that.  Yep, that's the way it always looks though I go through and sort and pitch all the time.

Aunt Lois took a little turn this past week and traumatized SuZQ and I for a bit there, but she is on the mend again, thank the Lord.
All things hospital instantly throw me back to Kaye days, which breaks my heart, in spite of anything I try to do to stop it.
What are you doing this midwinter?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Speaking Of

Speaking of being back at it, I've returned to the classroom as a student as well this New Year.
I had an opportunity to take a graduate level class on East Asian Studies this semester.  Now, in Indiana, to renew your license you have to accumulate 90 points from professional development of any sort that the principal deems worthy.  Graduate courses earn you a whopping 45 points. That in its self was a big temptation.  I always love having new material to teach and I love to learn.
Since I only need the points and not the graduate credits, I don't have to pay for it. In fact, I receive the texts free, a stipend for me, and a stipend for the school to buy supplies to teach lessons about East Asia. Apparently, this class is only offered in five places, so it is a unique opportunity for teachers.
Win, win, win, or so I thought.
As I got closer to the day, I began to fret.
 Perhaps we all have our pet peeves, idiosyncrasies, or maybe I'm just crazy, but I hate parking lots. I hate parking garages.  I hate being late and I hate being nervous about where to park and what to do.  I wasn't about to get a parking pass for 8 classes.  Part of our classes are at an Asian educational center across the river.
Then, I don't know how to get a "B." Don't laugh, it isn't funny.  I went back to finish my schooling when I was 40. My goal, complete a bachelor's degree in anthrolpology, get into the master's program for teaching.  All of this required that you maintain a decent GPA.  So how do you plan to get a "B."  At what point do you stop reading, writing or stop studying?
I got the syllabus and nine texts were listed. Nine? There are only eleven classes, are you kidding me.
Also, I go into work at 7 on most days and by 4, I'm all done, finished, mentally exhausted, so how excited was I going to be about being in a classroom again from 6 to 9?
For a long time, the big thing in education as been cooperative group work.  I had a wonderful experience, umm,  once or twice in those 3 years I about killed myself polishing off 119 hours of A's, with that whole cooperative group thing. You CAN NOT make people cooperate.  This is particularly annoying to me knowing I will walk back into the classroom with no group to do the work, just me. I finally figured out to just say, "Give it to me, I'll do it. "   Anyhoo, the thought of having to do work in a group was causing me some serious anxiety.
Lastly, I am the old person at work and since I'd decided to be crabby about this whole "back to college" experience, I figured I'd again be the old lady of the group, which was worth some additional crabbiness.
You know that Handy Man, he is a tool maker by day and a Gramerly manager by night.  God love that man, he's happy for us to have some supper out and drive me to class. He even walked up to class to pick me up in the dark and cold.  So sweet.
There's several people about my age in class. I am only responsible for my ownest self and there are no grades.  I doubt I'll do any less work as it seems I'm hard wired that way, but it will take the pressure off.
So, I'm up to my eyeballs in Chinese History and Proverbs.
Here are two Youtube links shared by the professor that I loved, but then I'm a big anthropological nerd.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Back At It

Returned to the classroom, this week and it was a busy one.  This crazy weather we're having is giving me a major headache- ugh.

In December, my school kids made a snow family for their gift to their own families.  As is usually the case, a few times I doubted by sanity in this activity.  Many of my kiddos have two, three and four siblings, so this was no small undertaking.  After using the blanket stitch to sew them together, they crocheted the scarf and knitted the hats.
Every student left with a complete Snowman Family. So cute.

A sweet friend gifted me with some cutest bits of stuff to add to the fairy fort.  I didn't open any of it until I showed it to Missy Bugg. She exclaimed, "Gramerly, this stuff is all about you!" Referring to the little sewing basket, gardening tools and books.  Then she found the one with a tiniest paper tablet and minuscule pencil and paintbrushes and declared, "They are even for what you do!" in reference to my job as teacher.  "There's even something that is Pap's," when pulling out the little fishing supplies. If she weren't in enough awe of these treasures, a closer inspection of the flower garden revealed a so very wee ladybug.  She was thrilled.  She immediately put the chickens under the flowers for some shade.  Such fun!

Another fun activity is this game from Melissa and Doug called "Suspend."  Grandfather, Swee-Tee and I had a grand time trying to get all the branches to balance.  After several attempts, we finally managed to suspend each and every one.

Swee-Tee is expecting a new baby brother in a few months.  She informed Grandfather that he best be getting a new truck so they'd have room for Bubby to come to Gramerly's too.
Missy Bugg has an interesting habit of creating her own vocabulary whenever the right word isn't forthcoming.  Recently she left the supper table to assure me she'd eaten all of her "Ebenezer" salad (Caesar) and this week she brought me the pot of Amaryllis and inquired if it was a "Lilliana."  Never an end to the entertainment around these parts I'm telling ya.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pictures Pictures Everywhere

I was so excited to get my first 35mm camera that did all the focusing for me.  I carried that camera everywhere.  SuZQ talks about how the pictures in the family album changed after I got that camera- for the better, thank you.  You often hear it talked about how the number of pictures get fewer and fewer with each child. That didn't happen in this house. I have a ridiculous number of pictures of all three of mine and everyone else too.
Do you recall, back in the day, having to send the pictures off and wait to get them back?  How much it cost if you wanted a 5 by 7 or a wallet size?  
One day, some 14 years after receiving that wonderful gift, it gave it up and couldn't be repaired.  To my knowledge that is the only material possession I ever cried over, and cry I did.  
Now it's so easy, but do you wonder what will ever happen to all these pictures we take on our computer, I-pad, I-phone, oh yeah, and with cameras?  I mean, gee. I take a ridiculous number of pictures.
Here are Bean and Bugg twirling those pinecones in peanut butter, Bean for the 8th year in a row.
 We sat down after the tree was re-decorated and looked at older pictures of the same event.
 I'm glad I have that option, because it surprises me sometimes how much of the things we've done that they've forgotten.
I couldn't have imagined, even when Bean was born and I still had a 35mm, how wallets would cease to be so important.  That brag books would be on the latest techno device.   The times just keep a changing, but Gramerly's tree still feeds the birds on New Year's Day every year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 has Arrived

Well, a bonfire worked out so well last year, we decided to do it again. It was a bit colder than last year, but the fire was warm enough for the kiddos to shed their coats several times.
 Missy Bugg was certainly dressed for a festive occasion.
Bean loves fire play as much as Gramerly
Twirling with sparklers.
Time for storytelling. Bean would have me be a running soundtrack of stories. He picks the characters, of course and never hears enough tales to suit him. Seldom will he tell me a story.  Bugg isn't so reticent and here is gearing up by naming the characters before she begins. 
Once again, she was wanting to know if it was midnight starting around 7. She said, "I think I'll just take a nap on your lap."  History repeating itself. After a snuggle, she perked up.  It started to sprinkle, then the rain turned to snow. So beautiful by the firelight.
We headed in to finish our celebrating with games, movies, popcorn and woodburning.  The kidlets disappeared for a bit and this is what I found. Some serious play in the woodland fort.  Bean declared, "Um, don't get used to this."  Referring to his gentlemanly concession of doll play for his sister.
Then it was time for the countdown.  Bean and Bugg were so thrilled that their current favorite song
"Gangnam Style"  was on, so a little New Year's Eve dance was in order.  Notice the Pappy's exuberance.

Bugg is still not real sure about the sparkling grape juice.

So another New Year's Eve has Passed.
Happy New Year everyone!