Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought she had time to blog regularly.  Well, as it turns out, she doesn't have all that time she thought she did.  Or...maybe she has the time, but doesn't really have anything interesting to share.  I haven't posted since the spring when I {apparently} made people cry after the tornadoes.  So, I'll try to catch you up from then to now.

We had a great summer at camp!  We had a few new churches come this year, and during one week, we were literally bursting at the seams.  The Lord really worked and so many decisions were made.  No rest for the weary, though.  We are already planning for next year.  Here's the theme we've come up with!  We are getting excited about it and hope everyone else is, too.  {I will do my best to put up a post with more details about summer 2013 soon.}

I started back to work in the middle of August.  I was super excited to start this school year.  This time, I was going into the new year knowing what I was walking into.  Last year, I felt like I was going in blind.  I have two fewer students this year than what I finished with last year.  That means there are seven boys.  I have the same amazing aides and could not have asked for a better team.  We have received a few small grants in our classroom.  One of them was a Pets in the Classroom grant.  We are now the proud owners of two Australian white's tree frogs.  We feed them crickets and meal worms {much to the disgust of my aides} and one likes to climb in fake trees, while the other likes to hide in the dirt.

The most boring section of this post.  The Baldwins are doing great.  Mom is back to work part time.  Dad is, as always, busy with camp things.  We went to Austin a couple of weeks ago to watch the Longhorns play Kansas State.  They won!  In case anyone missed it, they also won this last weekend against that team that was "unbeatable."  Just in case you missed it.  My very best Canadian friend, Mandy, came down for a visit this past weekend.  She was in a wedding in OKC, and we had hoped to get one night to spend together, but it just didn't happen.  We spent all of Sunday together which was great!  Then she had to leave again, so it was a short but good trip.  Much to my dismay, I didn't get a single picture of us together.  Sad day.  I won't get to see her again for probably a year...at her own wedding most likely.  Growing up is rough stuff.

That's all I have for now.  Look for more detailed posts about some of the things I glanced over in here...or don't.  But in any case, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Teacher's Broken Heart

F5 Tornado
May 20, 2013
Moore, Oklahoma

Yesterday, I closed the door on my classroom for the last time this school year.  My classroom was cleaned and my materials were locked away.  My walls were bare and white.  I had planned on coming home and posting a happy little blog post about how great my first year was.  I got in my car, went to Sonic for my mom and her boss, then headed to Wal-Mart listening to the weather warnings on the radio.  When I went in to Wal-Mart they were watching a storm with possible tornadic activity.  When I came out, less than an hour later, I was listening to reports of damage and destruction that had hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma.  Out of all the reports I was hearing--they were all heart-breaking, the ones that stood out to me were the two reports about schools where students and teachers were trapped.

Briarwood Elementary School
Plaza Towers Elementary School
I bet just about any teacher out there has complained at some point or another about the number of drills we are required to have every school year.  Weather drills, security drills, fire drills--they all are things that take out of our instructional time.  We complain because that is time that could be spent learning, and it is hard to get the students back on track after a drill.  I have an added complaint because in my classroom, drills are emotional every time.  My students don't like their routine changed.  They do not like having to be in small places.  They don't understand that we are practicing for a future potentially dangerous event.  We generally have at least one meltdown during any given drill.  I dread having drills.

Yet, in that moment, hearing Kelly Ogle talk about the numbers of people trapped inside those schools, I was so very thankful for every drill I have ever had the PRIVILEGE to take part in.  Of course, drill cannot possibly prepare us for every circumstance.  It can't be guaranteed that circumstances will play out how we planned them to.  They do, though, provide us with some semblance of preparedness that allows us to act with a level head when disaster occurs.

The longer I watched and listened, the more I began to try to put myself in those teacher's shoes.  Especially when the reports came about the seven children who were lost at Plaza Towers.  Teachers catch a lot of flack.  While I know that there are some teachers out there who are not the best, I truly believe that the majority of teachers are in those classrooms because they love those kids.  I call my students "my kids."  The plaque below says it all.  When I tried  to imagine myself in those teacher's shoes, I felt such a real and powerful sense of grief.

I know--I am absolutely certain--that those teachers are grieving so hard.  I'm also sure that many of them are dealing with a certain amount of guilt, blaming themselves for the little lives that were lost yesterday, even though I am sure that they did everything in their power to keep those babies safe.  I know they are praying just as hard as parents, friends, and strangers all across the world that there will be no more casualties at their school.  So today, I am praying for the families who lost everything, including loved ones, the rescue workers still digging through debris looking for victims, for the thousands of people all over--not just Oklahoma--but the whole country who are rallying together to help the people of Moore, Oklahoma.  But I am saying a special prayer for the teachers at Plaza Towers Elementary School from my broken teacher's heart to theirs.
Teachers carry students from
Briarwood Elementary School
Teacher carries student from
Briarwood Elementary School
A teacher hugs a rescued child
at Briarwood Elementary School

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Becoming A Quilter

I recently decided I wanted to be a quilter.  Yep. Just like that.  I found a super easy tutorial for a crib sized quilt, and attacked it.  I was able to finish it in a week, thanks to mom's embroidery machine, that also machine quilts. 
Here's the link to the awesome tutorial at Magpie Quilts.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Livin' Like a Pioneer

So, the big bad snow storm came through this past weekend.  What was originally forecast as slight flurries reared its ugly head as a full-blown blizzard.  We had 13 straight hours of rain followed by 13 hours straight of snow and crazy wind.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, our electricity went out.  It was 1:45pm Monday when they performed their final flicker and shut off.  Mom and I were home alone, but Dad was coming later that afternoon/evening.  It's now Friday night.  That means we are working on the 5th day of no power.  Now, it's really not as bad as it could be.  We have a fireplace.  We have a generator.  What we don't have is lights, hot water, and major appliances used for cooking...oh! and a heater.  The refrigerator is plugged into the generator so as not to lose the groceries.  Being without the "amenities" makes you learn about yourself.  Mom and I didn't have the amenities for the first day.  The following are some of the things I have learned about myself:

1) I am hot-natured person.  Even with no heat, I have only being "freezing" once or twice through the whole ordeal.  {And that may or may not have been while I was running around in the previous mentioned blizzard to a) check on the chickens, b) take pictures of said blizzard, c) put phone on the charger in my car, and d) call the goofball dogs in from running halfway across the property to play in the snow.  Because, obviously, the snow 400 yards away is a million times better than the snow right by the house.}  Anyways...I digress.

2) Mom and I could TOTALLY rough it...{for awhile}.  We had no idea where the generator was.  Even if we did, we didn't know how to run the sucker, so it really didn't matter.  We lit a couple of candles, broke out a package of hot dogs, and roasted away.  We also played UNO until the dimming lights made it impossible to distinguish between blue and green.

3) I am really, REALLY not interested in taking a freezing cold shower.  I have had to do it before.  I lived in an RV for a couple of years and it happened.  But the thought of taking an icy cold shower then having to walk into a severely cold house just wasn't something I looked forward to at all.  So, I put it off as long as I could.  Surprise, surprise!!!!  There was enough hot water sitting in the tank for all three of us to take a hot/warm shower.  {So, I took one.  Now I'm dreading the next.}

4) I'm not a sock-wearer.  One night, my toes felt frozen solid.  When I went to bed I put socks on.  I'm still not really sure where they are.  All I know is they were not on my feet when I woke up.  I think I'm like Pippi Longstocking in that respect.  I like my toes to be free to wiggle and breathe. {I also don't like the covers to be tucked into the bottom of the bed.  Makes my feet feel claustrophobic.}

5) My mom and I are hilarious.  Not just a little funny.  We could have our own comedy routine, and become very, very famous.  Famous like Larry the Cable Guy...or Jeff Foxworthy.  {Or not.}

Anyways, the darkness is closing in and typing is getting a tad difficult.  And I think it's my turn to grab a log for the fire.