Sunday, July 23, 2017

Chicago in June: U2 Concert

Jackie phoned several months ago to attempt a coordination where we could meet during her  spring trip to Utah where she was going to help her daughter move home from college for the summer.

We couldn't coordinate a meet up in Utah, but she had tickets to see a concert in June in Chicago. Could we come?

I am lucky enough in this life to have friends like Jackie and Pete. That's no small thing. They are rare birds.

You bet we can come!

Chicago was hot and friendly. We ate deep dish pizza and banana pudding. We spent a day in the Art Institute of Chicago. I could spend a week there. We rode the bus to the concert. Jack's favorite band warmed up the crowd. When I texted to tell him we were watching the Lumineers, he texted back "You are at a concert?" The details of our trip had escaped his attention. All he knew was that the folks were gone.

We sang and danced all night to the songs from our youth. By the time the concert was over and we were back in our hotel, it was 3 in the morning. With a flight leaving at 6 AM, we had missed our chance to sleep. We hung around until it made reasonable sense to leave for the airport and bid our farewells. Friendships like that are the stuff of life. We pulled into our driveway at 10:45. The kids were already at church. We couldn't wait to see them, so we changed our clothes and drove over to the chapel to find them. 

 A trip to remember, for sure.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Student Council Elections are the Worst

When Creed announced that he wanted to run for student council, I was equally sick to my stomach and happy he wanted to participate. We are talking about a kid who does stand-up comedy for his school talent show, but is sobbing and sick with worry the night before the big performance and begs to back out.

He turned his application in late.

He told me he needed a video/skit type of thing so I helped him figure out a game plan. He ignored my advice and decided to make a stop-motion video. After hours and hours of work, he had about 6 seconds of footage. They were a good 6 seconds. Great, even. But those 6 seconds had cost him about 6 hours. I sent him to bed, and told him to revisit the movie after school the next day. He came home from school and announced that he didn't need a video, after all. Just a speech and some posters.

I provided the posterboard, the spray paint, some stencils for the lettering, and a few words of advice. Again, he ignored my advice and created these:

He told me that 1984 Big Brother is exactly the tone he was going for. 

Next he wrote his speech. Once again, he did this with zero help and I didn't know what to expect. I was at work when the speeches were delivered, so I didn't get to see it. Thank heavens I have a friend who noticed I wasn't there and filmed it for me. Here is a semi-paraphrased transcript:

"Some people think this election is just a popularity contest. To those people I say, 'you are mispronouncing the word DEMOCRACY!'" (Here the student body erupted in applause and laughter. I could even see a few students stand and hoot and holler at him.) "Popularity contests mean that people like me don't usually win elections. That's why America invented the Electoral College." (Clapping and cheering.) "Anyway, I believe the school belongs to US! (pounds the podium) The WORKING CLASS!" (cheering and applause.) 

Anyway, you get the idea. He simultaneously stayed absolutely true to himself and won over the student body. He used words like "proletariat" and ended with the phrase, "Remember, a vote for Creed is a vote for YOU!" at which point the kids hooted and cheered as he walked off the stage.

Obviously he won. Otherwise I would probably not tell this story. Go Creed! He has a week of leadership training this summer and he gets to wear one of those cool Student Council Sweaters. He is now required to participate in and help plan school functions. 

He is going to have a great Junior Year! (Even though I suspect he is going to miss Jack like crazy.)

Jack's Senior Year Wrap-up

Jack had an excellent high school experience. He worked hard, earned good grades, went on lots of dates, played tennis, sang with the choir, and seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
At the tennis banquet, Jack received the honor of team MVP. Coach Dave has known Jack and taught him the art of tennis for 5+ years. 

Love these tennis kids!

Jack was the Team Captain this year and he also earned an All Region distinction because of his good grades. 

I loved it when I arrived to a match to find that Jack and Creed were partnered in their matches. They were undefeated as a partnership for the season!

 A variety of people showed up to support the boys as they played. Grandma came to every match, their dad came when he was in town and not working, younger siblings were a fixture, and even our St. George grandpa, Bob Case, came to support!
Stella always has a deck of cards. She brought them to tennis.

Getting some pointers mid-match from coach.

High school choir concerts give me hope. This choir was outstanding and I enjoyed listening to them sing all throughout Jack's years in high school. Through the years he participated in countless concerts and festivals including handbells, solos, and chamber choir, called Trilogy. He was on the choir council his senior year. I love the boys and girls pictured here.

On Valentine's Day, Jack and his choir friends came to my school and serenaded me in front of the whole class. They loved it. I loved it. It was a moment that I will always remember. Especially now that I wrote it down and created a record of it. Ha! My memory is terrible. I need to record the family events far more often than I do. (They came when we were in the computer lab. These photos are not taken in my classroom.)
Stella was in choir at her school and for one night there was a giant concert that involved all the choirs for our cone site . . . which meant that they sang in the same concert! 

I don't have pictures of every single dance. MOMFAIL. But here are a few pictures from a few of the dances. I want to offer a general THANK YOU to the parents of the girls whom Jack dated. They were all of them strong, independent, intelligent girls who are going to be amazing women.

This may have been Senior Prom, I don't recall. Working full time during your son's senior year is a huge adjustment, especially if it's your first year teaching. By May I had cut my work days down to an average of 10 hours each day and only a few weekends. It was rough, but thanks to my mom and my responsible kids, he had a corsage for every dance. Phew.

Engine and caboose.

These two pictures are how I will remember Jack's senior year: a pair of shorts, dark socks, lanyard around his neck, and constant ice cream. He is such a great person. I am so grateful that I get to be the one person in the world he calls Mom.

May 2017: I Graduated!

In August, even though I hadn't completed my Bachelor's Degree yet, I started the school year with my very own class of third graders. The first couple of months were more hectic than they could have been because I was still attending classes at the University every day while I learned the ropes. I earned my degree in December and it arrived in the mail in January. In May I attended the graduation ceremony and celebrated with my family. It was a great day! 

It's not easy supporting your wife/mom while she pursues higher educational goals. I'm sure the kids feel like they deserve an award, too.

May 2017: Jack Graduated from High School!

Time marches forward and these kids keep doing their thing! Jack graduated from high school and we all cried. Sara pulled off the greatest surprise and showed up on our doorstep on his graduation day. When I pulled up to our house after work and saw her car parked out front I shouted "NO WAY!" over and over. I just couldn't believe it. It was so unexpected because we had just talked about how much she had going on in her world and that she just didn't have time to come down for the graduation. My mom pulled off a great celebration with amazing food and decorations. Robert and I worked at his "grad night" and were able to spend the evening celebrating with him and all his friends. He is going to attend Southern Utah University after he returns from his mission. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Revolution #38

Today marks the completion of my 38th trip around the sun.

I'm listening to music as I make butterscotch pudding. I have two friends who live within a mile of me who have the same birthday and we are celebrating together this afternoon.  The pudding is for us/them. Tomorrow is George's birthday. Saturday was Lucy's birthday. It's birthday week!

On my 38th birthday:
  • I have blonde hair that goes down to my chin. My bangs are sideswept and it was cut with a razor which means that the ends are pointy instead of blunt. I am growing it out from the super short cut I got last year because I don't like going to get a haircut every 4 weeks but I also don't want a mullet.
  • I have started exploring "wrinkle maintenance" options. Creams? Lasers? Injections? So many choices . . . 
  • I am still 5'6" and I'm still carrying around the 15  okay, twenty pounds I put on 5 years ago. I don't really know where it came from, but I do know that I enjoy eating a few cookies here and there. Even if it means that I look like I enjoy a few cookies.
  • I still can't figure out my "style." Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of my outfit in a public mirror and react with an audible "ugh" and want to crawl into a cave and be naked for the rest of my life so that I don't have to dress myself. I bought myself a new pair of jeans for my birthday. Maybe they will turn my fashion world around. Here's hoping!
  • I know what kind of furniture I like and how I want my house to look, but I am dissatisfied with my execution. None of my furniture reflects my personal taste and everywhere I look is clutter! Clutter everywhere! Even when I clean it all up. Sometimes I think that clutter comes with 5 kids and I should accept it, but then I go to my friends' homes and they somehow don't have the clutter. What am I missing?
  • I want to paint every wall in my house.
  • I love to cook and since I'm not in school right now I cook an average of 4 to 5 times per week. Meals are fairly predictable and simple but sometimes I get a hankering for something and go "all out." The last time I went "all out" I made Ina Garten's nicoise salad.  Our usual weekly menu includes italian beef sandwiches, tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, and grilled chicken. 
  • I'm a taxi driver and a cheerleader for 5 of the most interesting, funny, genuinely lovely people I know.
  • I'm still making new friends and strive to maintain my old friendships. I have a few friends that I've known since I was a baby and my newest friend is someone I met in a choir that I was recently involved with.
  • I make my bed about 4 times per week.
  • I rarely clear off my bathroom counter. My makeup is always out. Hello, clutter!
  • I attend church most Sundays and more than half the time it is without Robert. We have 9:00 church and I am usually fixing someone's hair and putting on somebody's shoes in the benches once we get there. But we are there!
  • I feel like I still have adventures to experience, but I feel like the adventures I want to have are more of a younger person's game. What are the appropriate adventures for someone hurtling toward 40?
  • My life is not what I expected it to be, but it is so much better than I deserve. I live in a beautiful corner of the world, I know interesting and amazing people, and I have a healthy, strong body. I'm not worried about how I'm going to feed my kids or what my husband is up to when he's not with me. In fact, I have a husband who can't wait for his work day to end so that he can come home to me. I get to see a desert sunset every evening and listen to the frogs croaking after dark. 
Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Items on my Amazon Wishlist

 A Sampling in the Order of Most Recently Added:

  1. Several books about strategies for teaching content categories to students who are English Language Learners. 
  2. Texts on developing early literacy.
  3. Text on assessing early reading.
  4. Rubick's cube. Jack's record is a minute thirty, he thinks he could improve with a different cube.
  5. Tons of children's books. Eve Bunting makes several appearances. I have a weakness for children's literature.
  6. A bottle of self tanner (Tan in a Can) 
  7. Bright knee socks for a ten year old girl
  8. Japanese noodle bowls. For serving Ramen
  9. Bento boxes
  10. A few Ann Patchett titles
  11. Shoes for a two year old girl
  12. Miniature desktop catapult

Due to recent events outside of my control, I won't be needing items 1 through 3 in the foreseeable future. I can't give up the dream of beautiful brown skin (see item #6), even though I am perpetually pale and freckled. The pimples seem to have subsided, though. Item #7, paired with a skirt, is Stella's signature fashion style.

etc. etc.

I feel heartbroken about the recent events outside of my control. I love school, and I am a great student. I am going to be a dynamite teacher.