Saturday, August 30, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
I read the entire book the first weekend after I received it in the mail (only 272 pages). I enjoyed it so much that I decided to read this book to my 7 year old son as part of our bedtime routine each night (I know some of you are asking why I would read a book about aliens to a 7 year old as a bedtime story....you know your child, so guage if you think it might casue nightmares...it didn't for mine) . Each chapter in the book is about 3-4 pages long so we started out reading 1 or 2 chapters a night and by the 3rd night, my son was hooked and begging me to read more!! I think the length of the chapters will be a good selling point for struggling readers. They will read aq chapter or two and feel like they are making real progress in this novel.
The best part of this book is not the chapter size, it is the story. It is about a young boy who has superpowers..the powers to make figments of his imagination real, as well as manipulate himself into time, places and things. And he uses these powers for good...to hunt aliens....who live here on among the human race. My son loved the fast pace of the story and the detail Patterson uses to describe these aliens and Daniel's adventures. I think boys will relate to Daniel because they often see themselves as superheroes, as protectors and adventurers. There is just enough grossness in the battles scenes between Daniel and these aliens to draw these boys in and keep them hooked throughout the entire story. By the end my son and I were cheering out loud, wanting Daniel to triumph over evil and save the world.
If you like a good alien story, or have a boy who is losing interest in reading...check out The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson. There are enough twists and turns, with a little "on the edge of your seat" excitement thrown in to rival any video game or thrill ride.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
...watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics (from home of course!!!). We have been excited about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing since we started the process of adopting Maddy from China (over 3 years ago). Since tonight's broadcast is taped, due to the 12 hour time difference, I resisted the urge all day to look at photos from the event that were quickly posted
on the Internet.
I am excited about being able to visit some of the Olympic venues in Beijing when we travel to get Maddy. I really want to see Birds Nest stadium, where the Opening/Closing Ceremonies are being held. Travleling in a few months should make that easier. I know from at least one person who was in Beijing in the past 2 weeks that you have not been able to get close to the venues (especially Birds Nest stadium) due to security being so tight.
So we are having stir-fry and dumplings for dinner tonight ...and we'll be cheering on the U.S. athletes and enjoying the show.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
Today we are taking a mini-Road Trip up to Charlotte to see 3 families we used to go to church with in Virginia: The Clarkes, the Dunphys and the Cochrans. The Dunphys and Cochrans moved to NC before we moved here, and the Clarkes live in MD. Nikki and her girls lived across the street from us in our first home in VA. She is the reason I went to All Saints. All our kids were much younger when we met (many of them still in diapers), and there have been 3 new additions in the last few years.
We are looking forward to a great afternoon of food, fun and fellowship. I will post pics later this week!!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
...now I know you are scratchng your head saying "Didn't school get out in June?"
Well some of us (well, ME) are INSANE and signed on to teach summer school. Yep. I have spend my days (Monday-Thursday) with a bunch of 3rd graders (soon to be 4th graders). Yes, I need my head examined, because now, I have exactly 18 days until I have to report back for the new school year.
My incentive was the pay of course---needing desperately to build up the "China Fund" since we are (finally) getting closer to getting our referral for Maddy (have you read my other blog??? Waiting for Maddy ) After Uncle Sam got his grubby hands on my summer school paycheck, it hardly seemed worth giving up relaxing days by the pool, eating bonbons and other things teachers do on their summer vacation.
So today, our summer school principal (not our usual principal-whom I adore) had the great idea to do a fun day for the final day--where the kids would rotate between a water/field day, a movie and a dance, spending about an hour at each event. Surprisingly it went off well, considering that 24 hours ago we had nothing organized (like filling 400 water balloons- "sure we'll get right on that!"). Oh, and there was the dance, which I was put in charge of organizing the music for (why, because I am so hip to what kind of music 5-11 year olds listen to)..I can tell you--these kids are cultural deprived...they didn't know YMCA, BrickHouse, or Funkytown, and if one more kid asked me to play the Cha Cha Slide (for the 40th time)...UUUGGGHHH!! Now, I cant get Hannah Montana's Rock Star or We're all in this together from High School Musical out of my head.
So whatever will I do with my 18 days..vacation??? nope, relaxing??? nope, sitting by the pool??? MAYBE...plus lots of organizing, reading (some for fun, more for school), sleeping late...and maybe eat a few bonbons!!!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
It has been almost a year since we left Virginia, leaving family and friends, and our church. It is hard to put into words how hard it was to leave our church behind..it was home, family and friends all rolled into one. Our church was a very family-friendly, warm, spirit-filled place.
This week, andother family from our old church is preparing to leave. They are going to Belgium for 3 years. All of the Moms from the Moms group submitted recipes and one of the Moms created a beautiful digital cookbook complete with photos as a keepsake for this family. It made me realize how much I miss our old church and the friends we made there. Fortunately for us, we can drive back for a visit...and plan to next month. Blessings and hugs to our friends at All Saints!!
Monday, July 7, 2008
I was not going to post about this, but after returning to school today, my heart is still aching, I am still angry and I need to let go of this before it turns my heart to stone.
Last Monday, an 8 year old student from the school I teach at was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a 14 year old neighbor!!! Dy'Mia Janae Woody was not my student. But I knew her. We were not close, but she knew who I was and I immediately recognized her when her picture flashed on the screen last week, announcing her death.
When I woke up last Tuesday morning the news was on, and I heard a reporter say the body of an 8 year old girl had been found in an abandoned mobile home off Old Grove Road. I knew immediately that she was "one of ours," as we often refer to children in our school community. My fears were confirmed less than an hour later when I received an email from my principal.
We had the week off from Summer school last week for the 4th of July holiday. Had I been at school, the news couldn't have been any harder to take. I watched the news constantly and checked my school email for any news. My husband (a retired cop) and I watched an interview of a 14 year old neighbor of Dy'Mia's who had been one of the last to see her Monday night. My husband's radar immediately went up and he said "that kid either did it, or knows who did." By Wednesday, a suspect (the same 14 y.o. boy we watched being interviewed) had been named, and arrested. More details of her death trickled out later in the week as well as information about the funeral plans.
I was scheduled to go out of town over the 4th of July holiday, so when I heard the funeral would be on Saturday when I was still out of town I was sad to know I would not be there to give my condolences to her family, and be there to support my colleagues who knew Dy'Mia, and represent our school to the community.
Word came over the weekend that a crisis intervention team would be there to assist students and staff when summer school resumed today. I wondered how the kids would react, especially those students who knew Dy'mia. As I walked int he building, I was handed a letter by our principal about how things should be handled today. It was reassuring to be there, to be with our students, to hug them, to listen to them, to be the port in the storm they needed in their little lives.
Through this all I keep asking myself what makes a 14 year old do this to an 8 year old child. To any child? What kind of kids are we raising? My school serves a high poverty area of Greenville. Over 90 percent of these kids receive free or reduced lunch, they come from single parent homes, and are predominantly African-Americans or Hispanic. Their world is colored with drugs, guns, violence, sex, you name it, they have seen it. There is so much anger, and apathy, mistrust and abuse.
I went into education to make a difference in the lives of kids like these. Now I find myself so ill-equipped to handle it. When a child asked me "why did he do it" today, I didn't have any answers. I needed an answer too. Next week I will be attending a conference called "Boys in Crisis" as part of my preparation to teach an all-boy classroom of 4th graders next year. I need to understand where they are coming from a little better. So maybe I can still make a difference.
Rafe Esquith, one of my heroes, said (pardon me for paraphrasing here) that we can't save these kids, but we can teach them to save themselves. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Beef and Onion
Wagash (Fried Cheese)
Rice & Beans
There were a few things I was not brave enough to try..like the fish heads. It was a wonderful afternoon and we send our thanks to Olivier and Valentine for their hospitality in including us in their special day.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. (One of my best...: If you have a drink, you’ll feel better.)
2. Tell if someone is lying. (I am a 4th grade teacher after all...and married to a cop..I have this one in the bag!!!)
3. Take a photo. (Note: the word “well” wasn’t used.)
4. Score a baseball game. (I do not have a clue how this is done..even after looking over the shoulder of a man at a Nationals Game who thought I was stalking him.....)
5. Name a book that matters. (Ummm, the Bible?)
6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. ( Do the Jonas Brothers count?)
7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. (Like in the oven or stove top? Yes. And for the record, I am not allowed to touch the grill)
8. Not monopolize the conversation. (Have you met my husband?)
9. Write a letter. (A long, lost art.)
10. Buy a suit. (Like a bathing suit? Going to do that tomorrow. Say a prayer.)
11. Swim three different strokes. (I could at some point in my life..not so sure about it now)
12. Show respect without being a suck-up.
13. Throw a punch. (my husband says I hit "like a girl..whatever the hell that means!!)
14. Chop down a tree. (I thought when they fell a bunch of guys race out with chainsaws)
15. Calculate square footage. (But can I teach 10 year olds how to do it...NO)
16. Tie a bow tie. (Fortunately my husband has sworn off ties)
17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. (They call this a gift)
18. Speak a foreign language. (After six years of Spanish, all I can recall are a few words but I am learning a few of the "dirty" ones from my studetns..go figure)
9. Approach a woman/man out of his/her league. (With a drink, of course.)
20. Sew a button. (But really, that’s it. No hemming. No Halloween costumes from paper patterns. No curtains into clothes for the family.)
21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. (Can I kick?)
22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn’t have to ask after it. (Who is he? and what is he asking?)
23. Be loyal. (To. A. Fault)
24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. (His current drink of choice is Blue Moon.)
25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. (Is this the foreign language question again?)
26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. (I have done it but not very well. I am a firm believer that seafood belongs in a tank that I cna order for dinner.)
27. Play gin with an old guy.
28. Play go fish with a kid. (I think I can win this one.)
29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. (Enough with the foreign languages.)
30. Feign interest. (Again, have you met my husband? KIDDING.)
31. Make a bed. (Yes, everyday. I prefer to only do it when I have just washed the sheets, whn company is coming, or if I am bored out of my mind)
32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. ( How about YUM?)
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. (I cna;t even figure out how to play pool on Wii)
34. Dress a wound. (Isn't that what EMTs are for???)
35. Jump-start a car. Change a flat tire. Change the oil. (I CAN put air in tires. Just did that yesterday. Go me! Oh, and I know where the spare is)
36. Make three different bets at a craps table. (My time in Vegas is best spent at the slots)
37. Shuffle a deck of cards. (of course..)
38. Tell a joke. (So, a horse enters a bar)
39. Know when to split cards in blackjack (see above question regarding craps)
40. Speak to a seven-year-old so he/she will hear. (Not as easy as it sounds. And sometimes money and/or candy is involved.)
41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. (See previous answer.)
42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. (Try shrieking..and I might add I am the most successful with dogs.)
43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. (that is why I got married
44. Ask for help (still trying to master this one)
45. Break another man’s grip on his wrist. ( I would suggest biting.)
46. Tell a woman’s dress size. (Look at the tag.)
47. Recite one poem from memory. ( DO limericks count??)
48. Remove a stain.
49. Say no. ( I have gotten really good at this. Ask my husband and the PTO.)
50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. (I have tried..to no avail)
51. Build a campfire. (Again...this is why I have a husband)
52. Step into a job no one wants to do. (You mean like cleaning up after the dog or kid vomit? I so qualify.)
53. Sometimes, kick some ass. (See #13.)
54. Break up a fight. (Sometimes it hurts.)
55. Point to the north at any time. (Again with the math. Ugh.)
56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person.
57. Explain what a light-year is (as in Buzz Lightyear????)
58. Avoid boredom. ( this is why the Internet was created, yes)
59. Write a thank-you note. (Another lost art. )
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. (Starbucks, Diet-Coke, Pop-Tarts...I could go on.)
61. Cook bacon. ( Does heating Micro-Bacon count?)
62. Hold a baby. (Duh.)
63. Deliver a eulogy. (Can’t imagine.)
64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch (Hello, didn't I mention I teach 4th grade)
65. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap.
66. Throw a football with a tight spiral. (How about loose spiral?)
67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably (no clue)
68. Find his/her way out of the woods if lost. (Why would I be in the woods???.)
69. Tie a knot.
70. Shake hands. ( Not that I like to. Ew. Germs.)
71. Iron a shirt. ( Not that I like to. Ew. Work.)
72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. (Have had one since 9/11)
73. Caress a woman’s neck. (Again, I’m confused. I could tell him how to do it but I have yet to hear the song “Kiss the Girl” enough to cross the line.)
74. Know some birds. (You mean like personally? Because that would make me really crazy.)
75. Negotiate a better price. (Just ask my dry cleaner.)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Here's the bride and her son ...isn't she beautiful!!!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Many in my family have served, and are serving right now. I have have friends who have served, and are serving right now to protect our freedom. We have been fortunate that we have never lost a family member or close friend in combat. That said, our nephew Jake is currently doing his training as a Marine and will likely be shipped to Afganistan or Iraq before years end. Take some time today to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.
And may God Bless America.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Okay..my text came out too small. It says Wants 2be Goalie!! Okay, I know I cheated a bit (technically its 4 words!!). Noah joined a YMCA soccer team this Spring. He has never played before (he dropped out of Soccer camp 2 years ago!). It is amazing to watch your child blossom at something...and soccer is it for Noah. He used to sit and pick rocks/grass during t-ball and baseball games. Not in soccer. He is an active and willing participant. He loves it!! And he is having fun. Yesterday was his first "official" game and he played 3 of the 4 quarters. He likes offense better than defense but put in his time when the coach played him at fullback. You could tellthough he wanted to be where the ball was. He wants to be the goalie though. Every time the coach put in player, Noah asked to be goalie. So far, he has not had a chance to play goalie even in practice. I am not sure what the fascinations is...maybe it is because the goalie wears a different jersey. Who knows!!! I am just happy he has found something he enjoys!!!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Happy Easter. This picture was too good not to use for my Easter post! Hooray....it is finally Spring Break. I am looking forward to some down time away from school. We don't have any major plans....just some fun stuff planned throughout the week. We are leaving in the morning for Atlanta (just for the day to do some furniture shopping, etc.--IKEA and Trader Joes...here I come!), then back to S'ville for Easter. I have four wonderful friends coming to visit on Thursday for a Girls Weekend. I can't wait....I miss my peeps.
Happy Easter everyone....
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
I am a HUGE Dr. Seuss fan. Love all his books. Last week for his birthday/Read Across America day, I wore my Cat in the Hat hat and read my students oodles of Dr. Seuss books. We even made Oobleck in science.
I was really against it when I heard they were going to make some Dr. Seuss books into movies.... until I actually saw The Grinch and I thought they did a good job (especially with Cindy Lu Who). Now Horton is coming out this week and I am trying to contian my excitement. I love both Jim Carrey and Steve Carell!!! So this should be really good!!! Fortunately I have a child to drag along to see this movie so I don't seem like such a dork!!! Actually Mike and Noah are excited about seeing it to (not nearly as much as I am, mind you). So you know where we will be this weekend....paying way too much for 3 tickets and even more for refreshments. But it's Dr. Seuss....so I couldn' bear to wait until it came out on video!!!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Here are the rules:
"Sum up your week in three little words. You can sing it, you can say
it, you can write it, you can draw it. It can be funny or sad or poignant as
long as it’s honest.”
He's 7. He loves to run, jump, eat, play, explore, eat, laugh, sing, eat, draw, tease, joke, oh and eat. He's a neat kid--one of the brightest, funniest, most energetic boys I know. He's smart as a whip, great at math, becoming an awesome reader. Quite frankly, he's my greatest accomplishment. I am so proud of him...and he is goign to make a GREAT big brother.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
....it's Saturday morning and I am faced one again with the questions "what are we going to do this weekend?" Since going back to work last fall, weekends have become a chaotic yet precious mix of running errands, family time, grading schoolwork, household chores and soon-to-be sports practices/games.
Today we woke to winds and rain so it looks like our day will be filled with indoor activities. Noah and I are on our own as Mike is doing some training today. Personally, I am ready, after only one cup of coffee and an hour of housecleaning, to go back to bed, snuggle in with some movies or a good book and then maybe catch a nap. Noah of course wants my undivided attention as he richochets between watching TV, playing Wii, building with Legos, snacking, and terrorizing the dog. I am only to be a spectator and companion, not a participant, mind you.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
...Noah, Mike & I ran (okay walked most of) a 5K today here in Greenville...the Reedy River Run. Now I have to admit, I am not a runner, but it raises money for our beautiful Reedy River which is hands down, one of the BEST attributes Greenville has. The 5K took us though neighborhoods near downtown, along the river, past the amazing Childrens Park and ended at the Liberty Bridge at Falls Park. We fell in love with this park even before we moved here...while visiting my folks a few years ago. Here is a slide show of pics (some ours..some borrowed) but pictures really don't do it justice!!!
Friday, February 8, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
..okay, I LOVE Disney movies!! I'll admit it...but since I don't have a daughter(yet), I don't pay much attention to the ones with Princess themes. When Enchantedcame out..I really had no desire to see it until it started getting RAVE reviews. So this afternoon, Mike and my Dad headed to the International Auto Show so Missy and I took Noah to see Enchanted. I have to say... I LOVED IT.. and not just because Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy from Gray's Anatomy) was in it.
Although he is easy on the eyes!! The story was not too over the top cotton candy fluff...it was cute but not syruppy. And in true Disney fashion...they lived Happily Ever After....go see if if you haven't already.
PS- As soon as I came home I downloaded the soundtrack into my iPod too..even the music was good!!!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Did you know that is snows in SC? Yeah, I was under the impression we were leaving the DC area and moving to SC for the balmy climate( and to get away form the traffic, astronomical housing prices..etc). Well, apparently we picked a part of the state to re-locate to that actually gets snow!! Go figure! What was our first clue (aside from the familiar white stuff coming down Thursday, or the trademark rush to buy bread, milk and toilet paper at the Super Bi-Lo Wednesday night???? There are mountains nearby. Mountains=higher elevation. Typically higher elevations get snow, right (forgive me..I was NOT a geography major). You would have thought that we would have figured this out BEFORE we moved here.
SO anyway, we got a SNOW DAY Thursday (Teaching does have it perks---hello...Summer vacation!!!). And of course, a 2 day delay yesterday. By the time school let out Friday there was no strace of it. But guess what???? It is going to snow again today. 1-3 inches. On MY 3-Day weekend?? Seriously?!?!?!
Oh, and here is the real KICKER....we don't get snowdays in our school calendar in Greenville County so we have to make Thurdays up. Kind of s#@ks but....we still have Summer Vacation!!!!
I have added some pictures of Noah and Ella playing in the snow Thursday..they reall y had fun!!! (You can click on the image to see all the pictures or a slideshow in FLIKR)