Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day One: Washington DC

Last year, my grade level partner, Michelle, convinced me to join her in applying to participate in a Teaching American History (TAH) grant through Clovis Unified and Fresno State.  I was reluctant, but knew that it would be beneficial for my 5th graders, so I applied.  Even though it was through Clovis Unified, our grade level (Mike, Michelle, and I) got accepted.  Participation would involve one Thursday evening and one full Friday every month for the school year.  At our first meeting, we received the news that this would be the last year of funding for the TAH grant.  Part of the grant would involve an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC and Virginia to visit the places that we'd be learning about.  I felt like I had won the lottery!  Excitement has been building for months and the day finally came- my cohort of 30 teachers and I had an amazing time visiting the East Coast over Spring Break. 

We flew out of Fresno bright and early on Monday, March 25.  Most of our day was spent traveling.  By the time we got to Washington, we were pretty exhausted.  However, most of us still decided to go on a night tour of Washington after dinner.  Our charter bus dropped us off at most of the monuments where we got a chance to see each one up close and learn about each one.  I was awed and thrilled to visit the:
 Vietnam Veterans' Memorial (it was dark and sadly, my other pictures of the wall with names didn't turn out)
 Washington Memorial in the distance, Reflecting Pool
 Lincoln Memorial
 Korean War Memorial
Martin Luther King Memorial
Jefferson Memorial

Most of us hadn't realized that the bus tour would involve us getting off the bus at each monument.  If I had known, I would've brought my camera! The few pictures I did get was with my phone.  It was also freezing cold and drizzling outside, so we didn't stick around each monument for very long.  It was amazing to get to see "history!"  There isn't really anything in Fresno that has as much history, so I was very excited. I'm amazed at the symbolism attached to each memorial.  For example, the MLK Memorial stands geographically between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials (the 2 presidents most people associate with rights for all people) and there are 38 soldiers at the Korean War Memorial, which stands for Korea's 38th parallel...    It was a great start to what would be the most wonderful week!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Jeremy's Preschool Easter Activities

Over this past year, Jeremy has asked me several times why I haven't attended any of his holiday parties.  They always take place during my school day and with the number of days I've had to take off due to sickness, it has been hard to take any other days off.  He asked me again a few weeks ago, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Knowing how important this has been to him, I knew it was a priority for me to come to his Easter activities. 
Last week, Jason's mom was able to come to Jeremy's school to help him decorate his Easter hat.  All of the kids got to show off their hats in the preschool's Easter parade.
 Afterwards, I got to watch Jeremy at his free choice daily learning centers.  It was interesting to see that most of his time was spent reading books and coloring pictures.  I have to share a funny story here.  Jeremy and his friend, Jackson were coloring pictures and Jackson wanted to give me one of his pictures.  He wanted to write my name on it, and Jeremy quickly came to his aid.  "M...A...M...A..."  I came home that day with a picture to Mama, from Jackson.  How cute is that!  I am so bummed I forgot to take a picture of it! 
After their centers, each class also held an Easter Egg Hunt, and the kids performed 3 songs for the parents.  I had to leave to return to school by lunch time. 

At dinner time, Jason asked Jeremy what his favorite part of his day was, and he said, "That Mama came to my school for my Easter stuff."  This completely warmed my heart! I am so glad that I put aside my work to put him first, and I know I need to do that a lot more.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Last year, we got together for diner with the Wiens family on St. Patrick's Day.  Aaron made a delicious meal of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.  I asked him a few weeks ago if he was going to do the same thing this year.  Thankfully, he said yes!  So, this year, we once again got to enjoy a delicious St. Patrick's Day meal. For dessert, Aaron made a Guinness Chocolate Cake with a Bailey's Cream Frosting and Grace and I made some chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting for the kids. 

Since the oven was already warmed up from baking the chocolate cupcakes, I let Grace try some baking on her own.  We had some ripe bananas so she chose to bake some banana chocolate chip muffins.

Grace and I used to bake a lot. With busy schedules, it just isn't easy to find time to bake anymore. It was really fun for me to watch Grace bake!  She was able to do it without any help from me.  Yet just another sign that she is growing up!