Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where will the momentum take us??

I can't believe that 2009 is almost over. And I'm so excited about celebrating with friends tonight. I am ready to embrace 2010 and all the awesomeness that I know it will bring. How do I know? Why aren't I worried about all the bad things going on? Well, cuz we've got MOMENTUM, baby! Yeah, the W'ham's are picking up speed and heading toward something more wonderful than the joy we have now. Rose colored glasses?? noooo. Dumber than a bag of hammers? Not last time I checked. How about lulled into a false sense of happiness? How can happiness be false? It might not be lasting, but it isn't false.. it's an emotion, people.

So, let me explain this momentum thing. It's been building all year. We started 2009 in pretty desparate straights. Chris was unemployed. I was totally unhappily stressed out with home and work. Our house was  a wreck with no seeming way out. Our cars were barely holding on. And the kids were growing up with depressed parents. In fact, I didn't even write a "2008 in review, looking to 2009" because I couldn't bear the thought!

In the spring, I decided to change my working environment. A simple grade level switch and the knowledge that I wouldn't have to be team leader  sent my blood pressure down into the only "slightly elevated" range. Chris got hired on at his dream job at the start of summer. What a time of rejoicing! And 7 months later, we still are jazzed about this situation. It's not the money, or the prestige (haha-snort). It's the fulfillment of a God given promise. Delight yourself in the Lord, the psalmist says, and He will give you the desires of your heart. It's true. I can't say I was always "delighted" with God's path while I was walking it, but we got there in the end.

The summer continued and I got a "girls weekend" with my best girls, minus a few. But it was still great. I love my Sanguine friends! We also bit the bullet and bought a new truck. Love the truck. So fancy and more than I, er, Chris, bargained for.

When school started, we had the flood of '09. Water damage, insurance. Again, not sure about the path God chose, but as I sit in my newly remodeled living room with 3 mostly working bathrooms, I am humbled and awed (and in more debt, but still). A year ago, I was sitting on broken furniture, in a flea infested, nasty carpeted living room with no hope of it getting better. Yeah, God has good plans, even when they seem to stink in the process.

The fall continued in the path of "gettin it done". The remodeling took time, mostly because I drug my feet in choosing how and what to get repaired. School is a never ending challenge. And I love a good challenge! I really needed some new curriculum and new ideas to flow. And I have the best, most laid back teaching partner ever.  She makes me look type A. And she takes care of me! Yep, it's true. Random acts of Starbucks in the morning. "I'll take your kids for a bit" afternoons. I do love me some Charlotte Pace. A real gift from God.

And now, we're are prepping for a revival New Year's Party. It's been a long time since we were able to invite everyone out. And I can't wait for the happy memories it will bring. See, our momentum is building. And I can't wait to see where God's leading will take us. Ya'll are welcome to ride our coattails. There is room for all!

Praying for a great New Year for all. I know I have some friends who need a happier 2010. And I trust that God has a path that will lead to His big GOODness for them. And I am praying that they will walk that path.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some newer pictures of the home

Some days, we thought it was all going to never happen. Literally, was our life in the crapper? Nope, the crapper was in the bathtub.

The trash and mess were more than a sane person could bear.

 Of course, our sanity is often questioned. I mean, what kind of people keep their appliances in the living room??

But then, there is light at the end of the tunnel, or hallway. Look! New carpet!

And finally, It's starting to look livable. And I even got a Christmas tree up. And yes, that is the Christmas gift detritis all over the floor.

Our goal for today is to get the living room looking normal. Well, better than our usual normal. Maybe the new normal? Stay tuned ...More pics coming soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Great moments this morning.. I am so blessed.

Josh (as he's opening Bendaroos from Santa): Holy Mother of Earl!... What is it???!!

Crying while watching It's a Wonderful Life.. I always lose it when he gets Sam's cablegram guaranteeing all the cash he needs.

Figuring out how to finish up the wrapping just in time to take the presents to the rest of the family

Finding forgotten Santa presents in the closet, in time to get them wrapped and ready to take them with us to be found at Papaw and Mimi's house. Crazy Santa.. leaving presents in the closet.

Having Ryan declare, after his well constructed experiment to find out if Santa is real, that yes, he's real becasue the signatures don't match.

Feeling the presence of my God after a long night with a sick husband (nasty nasty sinus infection). I'm barely tired and we got a little extra at home time. It's gonna be a great day.

Happy Birthday Jesus! YOU are my hero!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

It's almost afternoon, and I still haven't showered. I have chili to make, cornbread to bake, cookies to teach the boys how to make (scoop and place, gentlemen). I finished my shopping this morning and dropped off 5 bags of old clothes to the drop spot by CVS. White Christmas is on the TV. And the only mention of Jesus I've seen is on Facebook.

I was trying to figure out how to plan dinner around a 6:00 church service with 2 ravenous boys (they are growing again/still) and realized how I've missed so much of the season this year. With the house in turmoil and the normal school stuff, I haven't had the build up I normally experience. The fact that I have to pull my clothes out of bags still lets me know I'm not quite ready for company. I haven't wrapped a single present. The tree is up though. And still, where is Christ in my Christmas?

I am happy to say He is front and center. I don't need to have it all together, wrapped with a bow to celebrate my Savior. He is with me always, and I've felt His present of presence a lot recently. How else could I not go insane? Note to self: don't do house remodeling in December. Period.

And while I wish I could have it presented better for the kids' sake, I guess it's just part of our crazy family. "Yes boys, it's Christmas Eve. Santa comes tonight, after church and dinner and s'mores and the manger scene. Sorry you have to step over boxes to get to the Christmas tree. " Maybe I'll stay up late and surprise them with a beautiful table in the morning. Maybe not. I just hope they understand that Christmas is about God loving mankind enough to send his Son to die in our place. Haven't seen a Christmas card with that on it lately. But I know, and I'll share it with those I come in contact with.

So here's to hoping that Santa makes his way to the Willingham's house tonight. Maybe there will be some unwrapped gifts under the tree, but our manger scene, to help us remember, will be front and center.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When the Crazy Winds Blow

There is some serious crazy floating around today. I'm about to head home to see what chaos the flooring guys have wrought on my downstairs. I've been nervous about it all day.

I'm also looking forward to a full night of packing the house so they can put in carpet on Friday. I know, you're jealous, right??

And in the middle of this, or perhaps bookending it, is the week before Winter Break at school. Lots of frustratingly long school days. When I'd rather be working on the house. But I'm making bookmarks instead.

And in the middle of the crazy winds, the zephyr of kindness and helpfulness makes an appearance. My partner told me to stay home in the morning, she's taking the kids. "Come in at 10:30 and take care of what you need to." Love that woman. She's a priceless gem among teachers.

And I've had other wisps of calm today. Kids who are normally rowdy showing kindness. Others just giving me a hug. And the box of Sees Candy was no small treat either.

God is good and showing Himself to me. In the midst of my crazy life He, again, shows up to lead the way. The way that won't let me be bitter. The way that keeps me from pulling out all my hair. The way that reminds me how hard others have it. The way that shows me people who need to see Jesus, from the Latin Kings gang look alikes who are laying my flooring to the irritating kid who won't shut up. Yeah, they all need to see some Jesus. And I know that if I recognize that, it's me who has to show it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why Teachers are FAT!

I know why teachers pack on those extra pounds. It's not the stress eating, as some might think. And it's not the boredom from all that down time, either. I mean, really, we do have 12 weeks off a year. Lots of time to gorge like the porkies we all are at heart.

No, the real reason, is because well meaning people think sweet things express gratitude and happiness. What do children buy their teacher for a gift? Apple on the desk? nope.. How about some homemade hummus for her wheat cracker? Heck no.. we get tins and buckets and paper bags filled with chocolate, cookies, and homemade fudge. They are easy to package and cheap to make or buy. Everyone loves just a little chocolate, right? So why won't a shoebox filled with home dipped chocolate covered pretzels represent  my love even more for that great teacher who deals with my child in all their specialness for 180 days a year?

And teachers, well, we are nice people. We hate to hurt anyone's feelings. "Teacher, teacher, did you like my chocolate I gived to you?" And we really can't lie. Ok, we can, but not about THIS. I couldn't lie to sweet little Fred and say it was yummy without sampling at least a little of it. Because he's watching me! Yeah, kids watch and know. That's why magicians don't like kids at their shows. They notice everything! You think little Fred wouldn't notice that I hadn't tried some of his chocolate peanut butter reindeer food, so carefully packaged in a neat little quart sized ziploc bag? No, he'd notice. And we can't lie to the children! Well, not about that anyway.

And then there are co-workers... gifts at the holidays.. you know those ladies can cook. Each one has a special treat they make and bring to share. Cuz teachers are sharers. And we are POOR. It's totally affordable to make 9 quarts of hot chocolate mix to give away to everyone at the school. And it is Grandma's recipe. And you can't be a jerk and not try it. Yeah, just try saying, "oh, that's not gonna work on my diet, but thanks for thinking of me!" You'd be blackballed for the rest of your life. You'd have to change campuses. And even then, the talk would follow you. You'd be the teacher who is "SO worried about her weight that she couldn't even try a little taste of my present." Teachers are also gossips, if ya didn't know.

And then there is the administration. What can you do for 70 people to keep them happy during Hell Week? It's worse than the Navy Seals training, I promise. I might not have to rebreathe underwater, but I do go a week without sleep and have exhausting days filled with the physical exhirtion of keeping classes of kids busy for 8 hours a day the week before the winter holiday. Can't take things for grades. Nope, cuz they won't focus long enough to make it possible and kids are absent, arriving late, leaving early, and there are fewer helpers than ever.

So, back to our bosses. They have found that if they dangle little treats along the way, the teachers are more likely to show up and be nice to the parents. Chocolate minis in the mailbox, hot chocolate and cookies in the lounge. Peppermints and PTO lunches to keep us full and sugared, since the airborne spraying of Prozac is prohibited by some dumb law.

Yeah, this is why we are fat. And if you find a teacher who isn't fat.. they are either new to the profession or extremely high strung.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The week in preview

It's Sunday night and I am facing the final week of remodeling. There are 12 days until Christmas, I am not done shopping or even close. I have a little cold with snot. Not bad. Just irritating. I have a week full of fun lesson plans and easy going pre-holiday fun.

The tile looks great. Can't wait for the flooring to go in.. Looks like the laminate will go down on Tuesday. That's my best guess. I'm learning that contractors don't communicate well. Well, to me anyway.

Lots to do.. I should be making a list... I'd rather relax and read a good book. Guess there will be time for that later though.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Twitter updates from a non Twitterer

Chris Willingham made a B on his ultimately stinky OT final... proof of Grace in the cosmos

Ryan Willingham is exploring his surroundings and bringing them inside.. missing Mama's new couch by a microinch and saving his life

Josh Willingham is impressing teachers with his wit and constant need for snacks

Marie Willingham is relaxing in her sweats on PJ day at school while wondering if there will be usable bathrooms in her house this weekend, as they are starting on the tile work TODAY!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Progress takes Time, DUH!

I'm at loose ends today. I can't wait to get home and see my new bathroom vanity and know that my master bathroom will be fully functional again. I, of course embracing my realistic/pessimistic tendencies, fully expect the plumbing to need more repairs that the guy can do and the vanity to not fit properly. But there is a slight inkling of hope that things will go smoothly since I am NOT involved in the fixing of them. It's why we pay professionals. Right?

I am wanting some new ideas for my students. I just am not enjoying the paper shuffle and grading at this time of year. I am craving some play time.. but how do 3rd graders play?? Maybe I'll bring out the Play Doh and we'll see how creative they are. Maybe we'll go to Kindergarten and teach them to tie their shoes. Maybe we'll make holiday ornaments. Maybe I am just wishing for next week.

On the home front, Chris is finally done with finals. And there was MUCH rejoicing! He finally had a night last night with nothing to do. What a sweet sweet blessing of time. I couldn't bear to share the honey-do list I've been making in my head. The man totally deserves some time to himself. Progress can wait.

Unless we're talking home remodeling. The progress can hurry the heck up! I am yearning to see my new tile. I am crazy to view my laminate.  I want to feel the soft squishiness of new carpet in the hallway. SIGH One day soon.

And you KNOW I'm going to share pictures. After I finish making carpet angels and dry mopping my living room, of course.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

See the Chaos

I was thinking that you are probably tired of my whining by now.. Whaaaaa.. She's getting her house remodeled. Cry me a river.. Well, Here are some pics from yesterday showing the chaos in action.

The Living Room
Wait, do you see it?? The new furniture is there.

If you look hard you can see  my new couch!

Look, it's like a dangling shiny Christmas ornament! The only one in the whole house!

Yep, lots of fun.. No showers for the Willinghams.. Please pardon our smell. But I did wash my hair in the sink this morning.

Feeling happy today.. Ready for more chaos.. See, I really am embracing the madness and making it my own. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's UP? Wednesday

Thinking happy thoughts this morning.. have to and you'd understand if you saw my living room/storage unit...  So here is what is going well...

My friends are blogging and I LOVE reading about how they are doing.. I don't get to the phone often, so a good blurb from their heart is fantastic. I've got to remember to tell them, though.

My house is getting fixed... I am keeping my eye on the end goal and not fretting about the chaos until then... the living room will get cleaner.. the floors will be fixed... I will be able to take a shower tonight (I hope).. end goal, Willingham, keep it in sight.

School is rocking along.. I'm feeling more comfortable with the curriculum and extending and enriching for my kids that need it.. I'm not the team leader this week, so that's FANTASTIC!

I stayed home and cooked dinner instead of going out last night.

 I also went to Walmart and bought the Christmas movies set.. you know, the one with all the old TV favorites like Frosty and Rudolph and Little Drummer Boy?? Total impulse end cap buy, but I am so excited, and so was Josh when he saw it this morning.

So, I am up this morning, ready to take the day full steam ahead! Care to join me??

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It has begun!

Met with the contractor this AM. The sheetrock was coming down before I left the house. My head quit hurting about an hour ago. Guess the blood pressure finally went down.

More details later.