Monday, December 24, 2012

All you need is Love

I have been meaning to post this since last summer and never got it finished but in light of all the recent school events it seemed most appropriate.

Last summer while at camp (always a great spot for learning!) I found my self eating breakfast one morning with the missionary and a few other leaders from another church.  The missionary and his wife had just returned from 8 years in China, where their 3 young daughters had all been born.  As you can imagine, education was a high priority.  The other ladies at the table, as it turns out, were public school teachers.  I have to admit I was a little disturbed to hear this.  All week these had been the people who thought the music was too loud or too quiet.  Camp too rustic or overtaken by technology depending on the gripe of the day etc etc......  They of course began to share how schools had "changed".  One had taught kindergarten for 20 years and she lamented how spanking had been removed from school and how time outs could only last 15 minutes.  All the children were terrible and the parents worse.  No one wanted to learn and she was stuck in a room with them all day.  Ugh.

Finally, I could take no more.  I interrupted
 "I have twins that just completed kindergarten and I don't think that's how my children's teachers handled things."
The extremely tall and very blond missionary who must have stuck out like a sore thumb in China turned to look at me, smile and ask "What did they do?"
I had jumped in out of frustration.  I hadn't really considered what I was going to say.  As the missionary looked at me expectantly, and the two women on the other side of him scowled at me in surprise and irritation my mind raced with things like dream dollars and prize boxes all the while realizing this is not what really made my kids teachers great.  Then it dawned on me.  I blurted out "They just loved them."

And that was and is it.  Mrs. Gardner, Mrs. Bryant, Mrs. Talley, Mrs. Rupsh, Ms. Whittamore, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Mitchell, Mrs. Graves, Mrs. Perry and especially Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Spearman and Mr. Matt.  These teachers do things differently.  Some have more laid back styles, others are super structured.  Some are the bubbly type and others more subdued.  I don't think I ever heard Mrs. Talley raise her voice and Mr. Matt well........

It doesn't matter.  They have all just loved my kids to pieces.  And my kids in turn loved them, and loved school and loved learning.  There are testing problems and security issues and curriculum that have just gotton out of control, but the real answer to what ails us as a society, as schools, as individuals is a little more grace. A little more love. A few more kindergarten teachers who turn their faces and choke back the giggle before redirecting little boys.  A few more vice principals that sing in morning meetings.  A few more teachers that can dress as leprechauns and still maintain order.  A few more teachers who roll on the floor and climb slides and push swings and even laugh at explosive poop.  And maybe a few more of the rest of us to support and love on them too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Big Bang Theory

We love this show.  It comes on in syndication most week nights and we watch it as Lucy falls asleep.  At first we thought it was just a funny show, but as time has progressed, we realized the people who watch, love and actually get the jokes in this show, have a few things in common.... Mostly, we are geeks.  Or nerds or whatever other word you have for creative intelligent types.  Or in Brian's case, he married the geek/nerd and I have brought him so far.  This realization came as a little girl at church whom her mother and I get on quite well, commented how much they loved The Big Bang Theory.  As I smiled, another child, whose mother and I usually see things from different perspectives (not a judgment, just an observation!) Said "Oh we don't like that show at all."  Momentary pause..... This explains so much.

The Big Bang theory is full of odd characters who like me, have seen all the different variations of Star Trek and Star Wars and not only recognize that red shirt on Sheldon as from The Greatest American Hero TV show, we were among the handful of people who watched it in prime time.  We are the people who find Sheldon's autistic like mannerisms funny because we have family members just like him.  In fact, the more I have watched the show, the more I realize I come from a long line of people that would be right at home in most of these story lines.  Today as we count blessings and some lament the outcome of yesterday's elections, I am celebrating my weird, geeky, odd wonderful family.

We are the people who know what this is.....and post it on Facebook.

We wear shirts like this......

And we get what it means.

When the community held a Civil War era dance class, 8 people showed up.  5 are related to me.  But it came in handy.

We take pictures of barns.
I took this one.
Lana or Sara took this one
This one is Brian.  I told you I was rubbing off.

We make things from scratch.... Like pickles and bread and soap and even this......which wouldn't have been as funny if my parents weren't brewing raspberry something in their basement at the same time.

We have this odd relationship with dogs.  We throw them parties, and send them to doggy daycare.  We dress them up.  This is me in the next picture.  This goes way back.

And sometimes we just look like ZZ Top.

Next time you are looking at my make up less face, carpet clogs and long hair, just smile to yourself and realize.  It's genetics.  And we are happy.

Friday, August 31, 2012

We Grow Tomatoes in the Landscape

Several years ago I had a mentor whom had recently been through some pretty stressful life events.  Her husband, in an attempt to protect her somewhat fragile state, banned her from planting a garden that year.  She sort of fell in line but thoughts of no summer tomatoes or squash were too much so she stuck a few contraband plants in the landscape.  I learned well.  This is Fred....

Fred is a tomato plant. He grows happily in a whiskey barrel between my roses. we were calling him Henry, but as we have a new nephew by that name, decided to try something else.

It has been a challenging summer.  There have been great highlights.....

Like Lucy riding the tube for the first time and Brianna having the strength to as well.

Cheer clinics with UK cheerleaders and amazing new tumbling skills. Hadley making the Total Cheer Platinum team.

Bible school.

Mammoth Cave

 And ...Church Camp.  I am pretty sure the answer to disagreements within the church is hunting down fellow church members with bazooka balls. 

But there have also been some pretty low moments.  Moments you can't share pictures of because they are so dark, so unexplainable. When 3 days a week of therapy in Nashville began to take their toll.  Days when we wanted to take a break from food for just a moment but couldn't.  Days when Lucy needed so much more than we could provide.  Medicine changes that were crushing to adjust to. Never ending math problems to try and get Brianna through 7th grade before 8th grade started. Drought and high corn prices and crashing cattle markets. Exhaustion. So..... What do you do when life feels like you are living in the compost heap????

You take advice from another out of place plant.  My carefully planted, in just the right spot, fruit trees didn't make it, but this little sucker that grew on his own from a thrown out peach pit in a pile of dead grass, manure and food scraps decided to bloom where he landed... literally. It took the mess around it and is springing forth with life abundant.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Disney Dream 2012


DSC02190A mere 3 days after Brianna was released from inpatient therapy, we made the wild decision to leave on a cruise.  The trip had been planned for over a year and the lead therapist finally consented with these words of wisdom, “I am not against a little enforced family time with no place to run.”


Brianna looked better than she had in ages.  We started the trip with two nights in Orlando to just rest and regroup after the previous very stressful months.  Of course we never do things the simple way.  We flew down on Easter Sunday evening promising it was a jam packed schedule.  We rented two small cars because it was cheaper.  My phone died and I navigated from the airport to the Hilton with no directions or GPS.  I was very proud of myself, but since I struck out on my own instead of following Brian, I completely stressed him. This also gave us the chance to do a character meal and let Lucy swim to her hearts content. (And make us long for a real trip back to Disney)


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I get accused of skipping out of pictures, so here I am!

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Show offs!  Jack and Hadley will never be able to claim they were forgotten middle children.  The weather was perfect for a day at the pool.  We ended the evening with supper at our favorite Disney eatery- Boma.


Onto the ship!  We were met by Grandma and Grandpa.  Grandpa had broken his leg and ended up with a heart procedure just a few weeks before our scheduled departure so he was also in a wheelchair.  Never a dull moment with this crew!



Brianna and Hadley froze in the restaurants on board so our servers covered them in tablecloths.


But sometimes they were capes instead.

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Disney service is always amazing.  We are not short on needs and demands and the cast was always awesome.  Special notes include Lucy pulling a cast members hair and she still continued to interact with Lucy the rest of the week, and an interaction with Tinkerbell that brought Brian to tears.


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Brian says taking a picture of food is such a facebook thing to do, but who could resist.

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The Enchanted Garden was my favorite place for breakfast and supper.  So beautiful and so green!

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The kids club was awesome.  Jack would have lived there.  Lucy could not stay on her own, but she visited during open house.

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The Mickey slide was preferred by our group over the aquaduck.



Pirate Night!!

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What a wonderful trip.  Lucy cried when it was over.  Jack is already planning a return.