Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

Today's post is going to be short and sweet. I love hearing my students encourage one another.

Today on the playground I overheard one little boy say to another little boy "Don't be upset you got in trouble. We all make mistakes, that's what learning is all about."

It seriously melted my heart. I love that he knows that it is ok to make mistakes. I also love how he was trying to cheer up the other little guy.

Adults could learn so much from little kids!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

Unfortunately this blog has gone by the wayside a little the last couple weeks. In addition to school starting and my life being insane... I also moved and my apartment won't have internet until Thursday. Hopefully at that point I can get a bunch of stuff up on here again.

In the meantime I think I will share some of my favorite pictures from the summer.

Ashley and Stormie on the first day of school.  Stormie is Larry's daughter and her and Ashley have gotten very close this summer. They love spending time together, and play together so well. 

Larry and I on our Weston getaway right before school started. A few days before school started Larry and I took one of our children free days to enjoy a visit to Weston.  This is one of the pictures from the state park there. 

Ashley riding her big wheel at her daddy's house. 

Ashley, Larry. and I at Powell Gardens. 

Ashley at Deanna Rose.

Ashley and great grandma. 

So with all of that being said please hang with me. I have so much I need to get up here and I hate that I haven't had a chance to do that, but unfortunately sometimes life just gets in the way. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Working Wednesday

You may have noticeed I have been MIA for about a week. That is because school has officially started, and the first couple weeks are always crazy.

We have moved into our new apartment, and are trying to finish getting everything out of the house.

First grade is going wonderful. I love all my students, their hugs, their eagerness for learning, and the stories they share.

So all in all life is good, and I am working like crazy. When things slow down a bit and the internet gets hooked up at the apartment you will get some more actual posts from me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

It's that time of the week again.... time to stop and look at the blessings we have in our lives.

This week my special blessing is my students.

Last night was "back to school" night and I got to meet all of my incoming students. In addition to seeing all the bright shining faces of my new 1st graders, I also got visited by many past students. There is nothing like having past students stop by to see you, and give you giant hugs. Some of these kiddos are going into 5th grade now, and yet they still stop by and give me hugs, find out how I am doing, and update me on their summer adventures. One of my students from last year got to dig up dinosaur bones over the summer..... how cool is that?

They say.... "It takes 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 hugs a day to maintain, and 12 hugs a day to grow." My students definitely help me meet this quota everyday, and for that I am forever thankful. I love being able to impact their lives. I like teaching them things, and watching them grow. It is important to me that they know that they can come to me at anytime and I will be there for them. My students are a very important part of my life. They are the reason I do what I do, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Little Girl and Her Uncle

    Today I was flipping through pictures while trying to decide exactly what I wanted to write about. I of course have many pictures of Ashley, and I also have many pictures of Ash with her Uncle Nick. Ashley has 3 uncles.... Stephen (my younger brother), Nick (my youngest brother), and Jeff (Jay's older brother). Ashley loves all three of her uncles very much, and has unique and special relationships with all of them. Today however I am going to focus exclusively on her relationship with Uncle Nick.

     The day Ashley was born my mom and nick waited at the hospital with us all day. We played cards, listened to music, and basically just waited around. At some point Mom and Nick left to go get lunch and bring me a couple stuffed animals, but for the most part they were there all day. They would kick Nick out of the room when they were checking certain things, but any time he could be there he was.

     From the minute he held her the very first time they were instantly bonded. You could tell just by the way he held her and looked at her that they were going to be very close, and that they already loved each other. Ashley has always been very comfortable with Nick, and from the beginning has loved to have him carry her, let her ride on his shoulders, etc. One of the first times Ashley smiled was at Nick, and is a story you might hear Nick tell often. When Ashley was only a few weeks old Nick and I were playing with her on one of the beds upstairs at my parent's house. Nick says to Ashley "Lets have a staring contest." So they start staring at each other and pretty soon Ashley looked away. Nick looks at her and says "I win," and Ashley started crying. So Nick quickly says "Okay you win" and Ashley instantly stops crying and looks up at him smiling. Yep she had him wrapped around her finger from the beginning.

     With Ashley's love for her uncle being so strong she never wants to upset him or dissappoint him. If he asks her not to do something and she thinks he is mad she will just cry and cry until he tells her he isn't mad at her, or that he forgives her. With this he is also able to get her to mind way easier than some of us. If I want her to finish eating it can be a battle at times, but if he tells her she does it. He will discipline her if needed, and in a way that is agreed upon and completely appropriate. He knows if he puts her in time out for something that when it is over they need to talk about it and hug etc. He won't discipline her and then walk out of the room. He stays right there and sees it out.

     Nick also prides himself in picking out gifts for Ashley that she will love and enjoy. For her first birthday he got her a swing that hooked to a pull up bar that hung in our kitchen. So even when we couldn't be outside she could sit in and swing and swing. This was awesome because she loved to swing, but by that point her baby swing wasn't big enough, and we couldn't always be outside.

     Their relationship has grown a great deal over the years, and they are still very close. They love each other very much and have a strong relationship that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to have such amazing people in my family so that Ashley can have this type of relationship and these types of role models in her life.

     So with that being said please take a minute to look at the pictures and admire their strong bond...

Getting ready to be wheeled into the operating room.

This is one of my favorite pictures!

They just seem so content with each other.

Yep still holding her once we got home from the hospital.

Just hanging out watching a movie, look how amazed she is by him!

This is the same day they had the staring contest.

Tickling little baby feet.

Look at the love.

Riding on Uncle Nick's shoulders at the pumpkin patch.

Just hanging out

Everyone must love sitting on Uncle Nick's lap.

Ashley is enjoying her brand new swing Uncle Nick and Katie got her.

Yep he even does hair! Now that's a good uncle.

Uncle Nick, Ashley, and Mommy at the Royal's game.

Ashley helps Uncle Nick blow out his candles on the cake she helped make him.

Just look at the two of them smiling at each other.
Who do you think is going to win?  

Ashley's 4th birthday party.

You can tell how much they love each other just by looking at the pictures, and they are both truly blessed to have one another. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Top 10 Thursday

Top 10 Favorite Foods

Honestly I love food, and some foods I like better at different times of the year, so this entry was a bit hard to write, but as of right this second while I am writing this these are my favorite foods, in no real order.

1. Taco Salad

        I love taco salad, and I am not talking about a taco salad you get when you go out to eat. I am talking about a real taco salad that has mostly lettuce, add in meat, kidney beans, onion, cheese, and crushed tortilla tips.  Then the key ingredient is topping it all with Dorthy Lynch dressing. This is definitely one of my favorites. In fact I wanted to have this at my wedding, but was told it wasn't really appropriate :-(

2. Chili

          Chili is one of my favorite meals in the fall and winter. Of course it is a must have during the Super Bowl, but we have it was more often than that. My dad makes amazing chili, and has taught us all well. If you make my dad's chili right the spoon should stand up in the pot.

3. Beef Stroganoff

             This is another one of my dad's specialties (are you noticing a patern?). My dad really is an amazing cook though so it is hard not to enjoy anything he cooks. I love beef stroganoff, over rice, not noodles. We often have this for my birthday and/or my mom's birthdat.

4. Fried Catfish

          People who have known me very long have likely heard the story of me and the all you can eat catfish place at the lake. Yes I was a think little 13 year old, and yes I ate lots and lots and lots of catfish, and then I stopped because everyone was staring at me like I had grown another head. I do love catfish though and it is a meal you can feed me where you know I will clean my plate.

5. Icecream

          Who doesn't love icecream? Seriously icecream is one of those foods that can make any day better. I love all kinds of icecream, but I will say icecream always reminds me of my grandpa Harold. He loves icecream and has a theory about how there is always room for icecream because it helps settle the food in your stomach ;-) That's not my favorite story about icecream and my grandpa though... my favorite story happened when I was probably in second or third grade. We were having a garage sale and my mom had told all the kids we could come in for icecream cones. So she is standing by the counter scooping them up and handing them out, and in comes my grandpa all squated down and following along in the line so he could get his too. I can't even think of this story without laughing, and it always reminds me the importance in staying young at heart.

6. Doner Kebab

Doner Kebab was one of my favorite things to eat when we were in Germany and we ate it many times. I also had it a few times in Italy though honestly it wasn't quite as good there. The horrible thing about this food is once you try it you are going to love it, and then there are none here. I have had cravings for Doner Kebab so many times but there just isn't anything I can do about it.... unless one of you decided to take me back to Germany I guess ;-)

7. Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes

I honestly don't have any great stories for this one, or even reasons why. It is just one of those meals I really enjoy! 

8. Deluxe Nachos... and all Mexican food

People in my family are probably looking at this picture and saying, "Hey, that's not deluxe nachos!" and they are right, but as there is no way to get deluxe nachos anymore, there is also no way to get a picture. We use to go get deluxe nachos from Taco Hut in Rolla. They looked similar to what was pictured, but also had more lettuce on them, and a wonderful salsa. Ever since Taco Hut closed my family has been on the hunt for somewhere with nachos as good, so if you know of a place drop me a comment. 

9. Hot Dogs from a campfire

I love campfires, and there is nothing like a hotdog cooked over a campfire. Camping has always been a part of my life. When I was little we went very frequently as a family, and I went with girl scouts. As an adult I have gone many times, but not as often as I would like. Then there was the summer between 5th and 6th grade. For me it was the bets summer ever though I am sure my parents would disagree. That was the summer we moved from Iowa to Kansas City. We moved at the beginning of the summer so dad could start working, but we hadn't bought a house yet. So we spent the summer living at a campground until we bought a house a week before school started. Now for me it was amazing we got to swim, play mini golf, walk around, be outside, have campfires, play on the playground, and meet all sorts of new people. However, there were 2 adults, 3 children, a dog, and a cat all living in a 29 foot trailer, and a tent (when it wasn't raining). I really wouldn't trade it for anything though. 

10. Bread Bowl Soup

Panera's broccoli cheddar bread bowl soup is definitely one of my favorites. It is a food I can eat even when I am sick and it always manages to calm my stomach. I love the flavor, and the warmth. There is just something about it that is unlike any other soup.

Well there you have it, my Top 10 Favorite Foods! Now that I have proceeded to make myself very hungry I think I will end this post. I hope you enjoy. Don't forget to leave me a comment with your favorites, or a Top 10 Topic you would like me to cover in the future. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Working Wednesday

For this working Wednesday you get a special treat, you actually get to see "my work." Today was our first official day back for the school year. On Monday afternoon I found out I would be teaching first grade this year, instead of third, and would be changing classrooms. As much as I will miss third grade, and I have enjoyed teaching it, I really LOVE 1st grade and am very excited about this year.

Today we spent most of the day in meetings, but I was able to get some work done in the classroom, and thought I would share a sneak peak with all of you!

This is what my classroom looked like at the beginning of the day.

This is my helped board... on back to school night I take a picture of each kid with a cowboy hat on, and those pictures get placed on each of the pockets. Then I move the sticks with the jobs on them once a week.

This is the bulletin board right inside my room. It has a bandana print on it. I haven't decided for sure what is going to go on it yet.

Fantastic work board, notice the silver mirrored paper. I think the kids will love it. Then I have a textured brick paper over the mailboxes, and I am considering putting their birthdays there.

The start of my reading corner. The brown paper is my Word Wall.

Calendar board, it needs some labels and such still.

Teacher books and such next to my desk.

My other cowboy and the drawers I use to keep special monthly holiday things in.

Word Wall and reading corner

I am sure I will have more pictures for all of you soon as my room continues to come together. The beginning of the school year is always so exciting, and I can't wait for all the kiddos to be in the classroom again, 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

As always I am taking today to stop for a minute and think of the terrific people and things I have in my life.

Today I am thankful for having the opportunity to write this blog. It gives me an outlet to express myself, and get some things off my chest. It gives me a chance to share some ideas on things I feel are important, and to connect with others. I wasn't sure how I would feel about blogging again once I started, but I really do enjoy it. I especially enjoy taking the time to reflect on the wonderful things I have in my life, and the blessings I have been given.

In addition to the blog itself I am especially thankful to have all of you who read it. I just started blogging again a few weeks ago and this post will put me at over 1,000 page views during that time. Sometimes people only read one or two things, and yet some of you read everything I put out. I appreciate all your support, and hope to continue to grow my audience. I love when you leave me comments and feedback, and I love being connected to other blogs I might enjoy.

So this week I am thankful for all of you and the opportunities you give me! You guys rock!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Remembering the Heroes

Throughout the year there are many anniversaries I remember, some are happy occasions,  and some aren't so happy. Some bring tears, and can never really be understood. Today is one of those days. Today is the one year anniversary of the helicopter going down in Afghanistan. A year ago today 31 American Heroes were taken from us, along with 7 Afghan Commandos. I was friends with the younger brother of one of the men who lost their life that day. He left behind an amazing family. All of these men left behind people who love them, and people who's lives will never again be the same. They made the ultimate sacrifice, doing something they believed in.

If you want to help I encourage you to look into the 31 Heroes organization. 31 Heroes is an amazing organization that was created to support the families of those lost on this horrible day.  I have attended some of their events and it is amazing. Watch their video  to find out how it started and ways you can help.

I also encourage you to check out the Navy Seals Foundation

On August 2, 2012 this poem was read during a session of the House of Representatives. The poem was written specifically for this horrible event, and has been entered into the Congressional Record.

We Stood!
WE STOOD, so you can sleep!
While, out across our Nation our Mothers now so weep!
WE FOUGHT, so you can live!
All in such blessed peace--that which our most selfless sacrifice so gives!
As all in such pain and heartache our families must now so live!
WE STOOD, so you could sleep!
Upon that Bed of Freedom so very sweet!
As to all of you, our promises WE Did So Keep!
As it was all for you, our bodies Now So Sleep!
So Sleep, all in such cold dark quiet graves so very deep!
All of Our Most Precious Lives!
While, all of our Brothers In Arms did so weep ..... and not ask why!
As WE so raised our hands so way up high!
And so swore to pledge our most precious lives!
To Make A Stand!
To Make A Difference With It All!
As WE so gave That Last Full Measure While Standing Tall!
As WE died and bled!
To so keep all of our most solemn vows of honor, said!
As why out across our Nation Our FAMILIES Now So Weep!
All But For The Greater Good, WE so gave all we could!
As WE pray now to our Lord their fine souls to so keep!
For THEY So Stood For What Was Right!
All with their most brilliant souls so burning bright!
As THEY died, all for that Old Red White and Blue this sight!
As into that face of evil, THEY so marched off casting their most heroic lights!
To so go forth, all in such a most brilliant force to fight!
Was but THEIR most sacred battle cry ..... call!
Because, moments ..... are all that WE so have!
To Make A Difference!
To Hear That Call!
To Change The World!
To go off so boldly with flags unfurled!
Troops mount up, as Heaven calls!
Move on! Move out!
As there are 30 more new Angels, In The Army of Our Lord .....
To fight that battle, who shall not pause!
To so watch over us all!
And then there comes a gentle rain, their tears will wash down upon us so to remain!
To ease our pain, so we won't have to cry anymore!
As forever in our hearts YOUR most sacred names,
WE will carry ALL!
Because, YOU died so WE can sleep!
Upon, That Bed of Freedom ..... YOUR Gift of Peace!
As now WE LAY YOUR FINE BODIES down to rest, to sleep!

by Albert Carey Caswell

So today I ask you to take a minute and look at the faces pictures below. Remember what they gave up for us. Think of their spouses, their children, their parents, grandparents, and siblings. Think of the amazing sacrifice they gave, and give thanks that there are people out there like them. 

RIP to these amazing heroes who gave their lives

As always my heart goes out to the Mason family today as well as all the others who were affected by this horrible event. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spotlight on... Ashley

Last week I talked about family Sundays and how important my family is to me. Today I thought it would be fun to spotlight the most important person to me, Ashley.

My interview with Ash:

Her answers are all quoted exactly how she reported them to me

How old are you? "4"

What is your favorite color? "Green and Blue and Pink"

What do you like to do? "I like to play at the park and I like to go to the merry go round. I like playing with my grandma because she is very nice. I like to play with Mr. Larry... I like to read books and go outside.. I like going out in the park, and going with Mr Larry and you. I like to play a lot.I like to sing and do crafts and paint pictures for my mom. "

What is your favorite TV show? "Ben 10"

What is your favorite movie? "Princess"

What is your favorite game? "My favorite game is whack the moles at our house"

What do you want to be when you grow up? "Cinderella"

What is your favorite thing about school? "I like playing with my friends. I like it because me and my friends play Hide and Seek"

Where is your favorite place to go? "Anna;s, and I like when Anna comes over and helps me make a huge mess."

Why do you think Mommy loves you so much? "because I love her"

Anything else you want to tell people about you? "I can go down the slide on my belly straight down."

Anything else people should know? "About me loving my Mommy and my grandma. I love my Daddy and I am going to give him one of my starburst."


Some of Ashley's recent artwork:

This is the card Ashley made for me when I was sad.

Butterfly... she isn't quite finished with this one.

Fire Star


Yellow Man... yes this was drawn on her playroom wall... ughh

This is what she made me for Mother's Day.