Monday, May 28, 2012

Pink Thunder and the Yankees

Phew... We made it through a very, very busy few months!  Basically, in addition to both of us working full-time, I was coaching Odyssey of the Mind, Jason was coaching volleyball, Grace had piano and softball, and Jeremy had t-ball... Cram all of that into 5 nights, and it made for a hectic season!  As busy as we were, we don't regret it- we really loved watching our kids play their sports.  Here are some pictures from the season:
Grace got to play with some of her teammates from last year, as well as with the same coach.  Whereas it took both us and Grace a while to get to know her teammates and their families last year, this year, it took no time at all, which made for a fun evening (twice a week).
Coach let Grace try pitching in several games. This was probably her favorite position.
She also got to play catcher in numerous games.  She loved being a part of every play.
One area that she will need to focus on is improving her batting.  She and Jason have already talked about practicing months before next year's season begins.
Jeremy and his buddies, Luke and Levi, joined the City of Fresno's t-ball league for 3-4 year olds.  It was so much fun to meet with our good friends every week to watch our boys "play" baseball.  I give a lot of credit to those coaches- what patience they had to work with so many little kids and try to teach them the basics of baseball.  Jeremy did pretty well, probably because this was his second year.  He was definitely a go-getter and knew what to do at bat.  (Though we're going to have to work with him about not hogging the ball every time the ball is hit!)

I am so grateful that we have many close friends who have sons the same age. It's going to be so great to see our boys grow up together, and what a gift to have this amazing core of support!  (Thank you to Christa for sharing these pictures of Jeremy with me.  I treasure them- they are just so, so cute!)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jeremy Loves Jesus!

It has come up several times over this past year- "Jeremy, would you like to tell Jesus that you love Him?  Would you like Jesus to be in your heart?"  The answer has always been, "No."  Not even a maybe, or any questions about what that means, his answer has always been a definite no...
Well, today is a special day.  Jason and Grace are having a Daddy-Daughter Day out of town with his school today, and Jeremy and I are getting some Mama-Son time together.  We started our morning by going out to breakfast.  This part of our conversation was life-changing:

J: Why do we go to church?
Me: We go to learn more about Jesus, learn how to live how Jesus wants us to, and to be with other people who love Jesus like we do. 
J:  I love Jesus, too.
M: Would you like to tell Jesus that you love Him?
J: I already did.  I asked Jesus to come in my heart last night.
M: You did?  (me getting teary)  What did you say?
J:  I said, "Jesus, I love you.  Can you come into my heart?"
M: (now on the verge of bursting) Really?  Do you think Jesus knows you love Him? (Jeremy nods).  Do you know that Jesus loves you? (Jeremy continues to nod).  Can I pray with you this time? 
J: But I'm eating right now.  When I'm done, you can pray with me. 

And so we ate our chocolate chip pancakes and chatted about other things...   As I was buckling him back into his carseat, I brought up the subject again, and this time, he said that we could pray together.  So we did!   I am overjoyed!  I didn't have anything special planned for our day together- just hanging out and taking it easy, and yet it has turned into a very significant day indeed!  Praise God!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Open House

A huge part of my life is my work... Our school's Open House was just this past Thursday, and even though it has been the hardest teaching year of my career, I must say that the Open House was a highlight of my year!   
My room's "theme" this year was a States Fair.  We've been learning about the 50 states and each student was assigned a specific state to focus on.  We researched and completed different projects that were showcased during our Open House.  Here's a glimpse of my room:
(No, my desks aren't normally arranged like this!)
For the first time ever, I asked students to dress up for Open House.  They had an option of dressing up as a Famous American from their state or as a state symbol.  It was FANTASTIC what the kids came up with for their costumes.  Here's one example:
When the kids arrived at our classroom, they picked up their "Special Guest Pass" (nametags) and wore them in case people couldn't tell who they were.  They had to find an adult to give them a "V.I.P. Interview."  The students had to answer the questions based on their character/symbol, and the interviewer had to rate the students' answers.

After the interview, the students guided their parents/guests around the classroom to show off all of their learning.
Students created 3-D Flag Art inspired by Jasper Johns' "Three Flags" and wrote descriptive paragraphs about the flag's symbols.
Students learned how to read and create timelines by researching important events in their state's history, including its statehood.
The students researched about famous people from their state.  They used the information to write biography poems from that person's perspective.  Then, they got to create a visual of their famous person.
One thing that I'm proud of this year is how I've taught across the curriculum.  I've definitely worked at "killing more birds with fewer stones."  This particular project tied together ELA, Science, and S.S. standards.  We read about animal and plant cells, compared them using a Venn diagram, then researched State Birds (animal cells) and State Flowers (plant cells).
A popular project that I've assigned over the years is for students to create a State Float.  Students spent a lot of time researching about their state, and then designed a float to represent their state.  Three awards were handed out- this particular float won "Judges' Award."  All Open House visitors got to vote for their favorite float, and I also had the class choose their favorite float.
This past year, we learned how to read physical and political maps.  We also learned about the different landforms across America.  Students used this knowledge to make 3-D relief maps of their state using salt dough and when it was dry, they painted them.

I forgot to take a picture of our Road Trip Scrapbooks.  Every day for the past few months, we've pretended to jump on a bus to take a road trip around the U.S.  Students pretended to take a picture (drew and colored) and write an entry describing something they might have seen while visiting that particular state.

Particularly since I'm Canadian, I always find it interesting to teach about the different states.  It has involved a lot of research on my part and boy, I've learned a lot!  Anyway, I just wanted to share a glimpse of my teaching world!  The end of the school year is almost here!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Angel Babies Walk

Earlier this month, we participated in the Hinds Hospice's annual "Walk to Remember" in memory of our close friends' son, Caleb Wiens.  Our family walked 2 miles with the "Caleb Cruisers," and then the kids ran in the kids' races.  We consider this a special time for our family to be able to share in this with the Wiens family every year...       

Grizzlies' Birthday Outing

To celebrate Dan and Jason's birthdays, the whole family went to watch the Fresno Grizzlies play. 
It was a hot day, but luckily, we were able to get seats in the shade.  It was a good game, with the Grizzlies beating the Colorado Sky Sox.  The kids did great, especially after we got them some snow cones. 
 For dinner, we went to Famous Dave's and then headed over to Coldstone for dessert.  Jennifer had pre-ordered an ice cream cake and ice cream cupcakes. Yum! 

Happy Birthday to Dan and Jason!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


It has been on my bucket list and now I get to cross it off- I got to see my favorite music group COLDPLAY last weekend!  With all my anticipation, I was really hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed... The concert was AWESOME!  

Jason's mom watched the kids overnight so that Jason and I could spend the night in San Jose.  Before the concert, we met up with our friends, Krystal and Corey for dinner at San Pedro Bistro Wine Bar.  Overall, it was a nice dinner, though a little expensive considering the portion of my scallops!  We walked from the bistro to HP Pavilion and unfortunately, caught a little of one of the opening acts.  The wait for Coldplay was worth it! 
Every person in the arena was given a wristband when we entered.  We didn't really know what they were for, but when the show finally started, we soon discovered that the wristbands lit up and was synchronized for the show.  Imagine an entire arena blinking with lights!  It was AH-mazing!

One of my pet peeves is going to a concert where the band sounds exactly like their CD.  I feel like a concert experience should be a little different and interactive.  Coldplay did a great job- they even changed up how some of their songs started which made the concert even more interesting.  Most of the concerts Jason and I have attended have been Jason's music taste.  Going to see Coldplay was definitely for me- what a difference it made to be able to sing along to the songs and dance to a group that I love!  The show lasted 1.5 hours and included many of their well-known and well-loved hits, as well as a lot of songs from their latest album.
 I am so glad I got the chance to see them live... I would totally see them again if the chance ever came up again.  Is it ok for me to add them back onto my bucket list?  I LOVE COLDPLAY!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Break

I know Spring Break has come and gone, but I've just been so busy, I haven't really had time to blog about it. 
Spring Break was busy, but it was really nice to have a break from school!  Jason and Grace got one week off, and I got an additional four extra school days off.  Here's a brief recap of our time off.

Trip to the Zoo
Our church's Mom's Group gets together every other week, but since I'm at work, I don't get to join in the fun.  During Spring Break, some moms got together to go to the zoo.  It was a lovely day!
 Here are the boys enjoying a snack together.

 Jeremy and Levi... How goofy are these two?!

Shaver Lake
The last time we were at the cabin was over New Year's Day and there wasn't any snow at the time.  Well, the mountains did get some late snow so we decided to head up to the cabin for a few days over Spring Break.  Unfortunately, the sun had melted most of the snow and we didn't get to play in it like we had hoped.  There were just a few random snow patches here and there.
We had no expectations- we read, we watched dish t.v. (we don't have dish or cable at home), we played with the kids, took naps...  It was soooo nice!

Easter Eggstravaganza
We headed back to Fresno on Good Friday in time for our church's annual Eggstravaganza at a nearby neighborhood park.  It's a tradition, so I really didn't want our kids to miss out.

We celebrated Easter at Jason's mom's home.  As always, she prepares an amazing meal and we had a wonderful time together.  Of course the kids' favorite part of the day is the egg hunt.

Happy Spring!