Friday, April 27, 2012

The Substitute Diaries

Grams has been extremely busy substitute teaching this semester. I've been working mostly at a primary school that has Pre-K through 3rd Grade. I really have come to love substitute teaching. I get the benefit of a teacher who puts together the lesson plan and spells it out in detail for me. I also get hugs and smiles from dozens and dozens of students who call me "Mrs. V" and are almost always happy to see me.

It's so much better than nonprofit fundraising and special event planning ever was. No one asks me how many contacts I made today or how much money I raised today. I don't have to worry about goals and cultivating new givers.

Working with kids who are between four and nine years old can be a lot of fun, but it does have a few drawbacks. One of those drawbacks became painfully clear this morning when I took over a classroom full of kindergarten students.

Kindergarten rug (photo credit)
Each of the kindergarten classrooms has a big colorful rug with squares. Each student is assigned to sit on a specific square. It's their spot all year long. "Carpet time" is used for reading, calendar review, group activities like counting and reciting, reviewing the weather, and a variety of other activities. Each classroom handles it a little bit differently and kindergartners are quick to point out if the substitute deviates from their standard procedure in any little way.

Yesterday all our kindergartners went to the Texas State Aquarium on a field trip. So, at the end of circle time this morning I took a few minutes to ask them about what they had seen and how much they enjoyed their field trip. We were a few minutes ahead of schedule so I allowed a little time for discussion between myself and the kids. During that discussion, one of the kids told me that I reminded him of another substitute that they had earlier this week. Since I had been in the classroom across the hall, I knew exactly who he was talking about. I don't think we look at all alike. For one thing she's completely white-haired and I keep my hair colored. I'm fanatical about it and you will rarely even see my grey roots. I followed up by asking what he thought was the same about us. He answered "You're both really old." I sort of laughed and explained that ladies don't really like to be called old and it's not a very nice thing to say.
Grams in April 2012.

Then a beautiful little girl on the front row said "That's right. You should not say she's old. You should say she's elderly."

I swear, this five year old girl called me "elderly." Seriously?! Elderly?! And I thought my hair coloring was doing the trick.

I just let it go. Although I have had a very good laugh about it several times today. Maybe laughing will keep me from crying.

And, in case you're wondering ... I'll be 58 in June. Old yes, but elderly. I think not! I've added a recent photo so you can judge for yourself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Surviving Your Children

Our children were both baptized into the Catholic church within the first few weeks of their lives. As part of that process we were required to attend a class that was just a couple of hours long. No big deal, but kind of a pain in the butt when you have first one baby, then two.

I don't remember very much about those sessions, but I do remember one thing which turned out to be some of the best advice I ever got. The priest who taught the class told us something like this.

You are parents now and your relationship with this child is just beginning. For the next few years being a parent will seem all consuming and will rightfully be a top priority. But this relationship, as it will exist for the next eighteen years or so, is a temporary one. You will always be parents, but they will not always be children. As hard as it may be to believe, these children will grow up and leave home. That's what is supposed to happen. Your relationship with them will grow and change as they grow and change.

While you are rearing and nurturing these children, don't forget that before you were their mom or their dad, you were a wife or a husband. You made promises to each other that come first and supersede the fact that you are parents. You must work to make sure that the relationship between husband and wife survives.

Some day, in some form or fashion, you will make a long drive home from helping your youngest child move into a dorm room or apartment. On that day, the two of you will walk into your home together and that home will feel empty. On that day you will realize that it's just the two of you again. When that happens, you need to be ready. So, take care of these children and raise them well. And ... take care of your marriage. Your marriage needs to survive your children.

(Read about my own experience with our chicks flying the nest here I Love My Empty Nest. I think it's one of the best posts I've ever written.

Button pic 9

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Playgrounds, Pictures, and Comments

We spent last weekend in San Antonio with Katy, Travis, and the granddaughters. Since they were hosting a birthday party for Her Highness on Saturday, they asked if we would take the girls out of the house on Friday while they tidied up.

We started out with a stop at Starbucks for coffee for us and applesauce for the girls. Of course, Our Little Princess had to have one of their little pink donuts.

It was early and the weather was still nice and cool so we decided to take them to a playground. We drove to a neighborhood park where we spent the next hour or so playing. As usual, I had my camera with me and snapped quite a few pictures.

We had to keep a very close eye on Her Highness. She still puts anything and everything in her mouth, and she has no fear so she'll climb on anything. But we all survived and had fun.

Here is my favorite photo from the weekend.

I cropped and enhanced it using PicMonkey. I've used Picasa and Picnik to edit photos since I started blogging. With Picnik going away, I've been looking for a new service to use. I think PicMonkey may be the one.

I'm heading back to San Antonio for a girls weekend with one of my best girlfriends. We have theater tickets for Saturday night and I'm pretty sure I can squeeze in a visit with these little angels on Sunday afternoon before I head back to Corpus Christi.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. - Those of you who are regular readers will notice that I have turned on comment moderation. Please don't let that deter you from commenting. Some perverted person had begun posting incredibly offensive content on my blog. I have reported them, removed those comments, and will be moderating comments for the foreseeable future. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to Her Highness

Her Highness is one year old today. It's been quite a year with a lot of changes.

We celebrated her birthday on Saturday with friends and family. The tablescape was beautiful and the menu was delicious. There were brisket sliders, macaroni and cheese, fruit skewers, candy coated marshmallows, lemon chiffon cupcakes with seven-minute icing, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

For party favors, Katy made individual Easter s'mores. We found them on Pinterest and they were the perfect little party favor for all ages.

The party was fun. It was good to see Travis' family and catch up with them. She got lots of lovely gifts of clothes and toys. Unlike her big sister, no one had to show her what to do with the cupcake. As you can see, she dove into it head first.

Her Highness has quite a personality and is so different from her sister. We sometimes refer to her as "full throttle baby." I promise you that she will always be the center of attention and will always come out on top of anything. She may be the little sister, but that is in age only.

Happy First Birthday to Her Highness!