Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recapping 2013

Oh this year! It has been a blur. It started with Chris going to Germany for over a week. I took some great classes towards my Master's Degree. I said good bye to some great teaching friends who retired. I watched a couple of friends struggle through the pain of oncoming divorce. The summer was a whirlwind of trips. To New Mexico, Arkansas, New Braunfels. Chris went back to Germany and became a bona fide world traveler. I also hit the big 4-0. My first born turned 13 and I became the parent of a teenager.He also passed me in height and still loves to point that out. We are ringing in the new year with friends, as is our custom. When I look back on the year, I wonder what have I learned and how have I changed. I know I want more. I want more of Christ in my life. I want more opportunities in my job. I want more fun with my family. I want more places to love people. I want more. I look at the future and have hope. I hope that I am wiser with my time and my money. I hope I choose people over plans. I hope God continues to bless our family with health and fortune and favor. I hope my friends who have not had health, fortune, or favor will hold fast to God and not give in to bitterness. Happy New Year to all! May it be a time of love for all who hope in the power of Christ.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


wow! 6000 pageviews! That's right! 6000 clicks on this little ol blog. Thanks Mom! You must be dying for info. Not much new here. Or the Spambots have taken a liking to this piece of blogland. Anyway, It's a milestone and I'm ready to celebrate anything today since I epically fail at Christmas in general. So here's to 6000 pageviews!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Long Haul

It has been a whirlwind around here lately. I find myself just spinning in place before I head out for the next thing. I don't think I've had such a busy fall in quite a while.

The son turned 13. We've been parents of a teenager for just under two weeks and it has already been a roller coaster ride. Prayers appreciated for the teen and his parents. So far I've decided that teens are: time consuming, argumentative, expensive, alternately funny and infuriating within the same conversation, tall, in need of an imposed wake up time, and still the same kid they were a few weeks ago but with more attitude.

The other son has found a hobby. Hobbies to be exact. He is on the school robotics team, in the school Christmas play, singing a solo in the church Christmas play, and willingly chose to read the first Harry Potter book.. for a second time. I am so confused. He can be quite delightful most days and gives a great back rub. And it is evident that he is changing and growing up. That's good. But I will miss him as a little guy. I hope he stays just as snuggley.

My library classes are winding down for the semester. By winding down I mean I have 7 more projects/papers to complete in the next 3 weeks. But if I finish the semester successfully I will be over half way finished with the degree. It seems like I should be closer to finishing, but Dec 2014 is as close as I could get it without selling one of the children or losing my job. I can't wait to see what doors open up for me when I get this done. It will allow me to continue to work with children everyday but not have to deal with the classroom issues that suck the fun out of working in a school. There are different problems, I know. But after 20 years in the classroom (by the time I am done), different will be OK.

So, we are fine. Just living a very full life. I am looking forward to seeing my family at Thanksgiving. Some time away will be nice. So I am hanging on until school gets out for the holiday. I should probably invest in some grips or something to make hanging on easier.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The saying "It's a mad, mad world" might apply to Willingham's World. We are pretty crazy, but in a good way, I like to think.

We are mad enough to think that our kids are pretty awesome. Even amidst the early teen sarcasm and challenges, they are still nice to other people. They still get along with each other long after their friends have stopped liking their siblings.  And they still ask to do things with us. Yes, I am cherishing the moments.

We are mad enough to pray about insane impossibilities, like going to Germany as a family next summer (It's just money, right?) and making a big financial decision to get rid of some debts that common sense advises against. Still praying about these, by the way.

We are mad enough to have have hope that lives can be changed for Christ in a secular, money and performance based society that stresses "tolerance for all as long as it looks like us."

And we are mad enough to think that this 20th year of marriage could be the best yet! Even with some serious challenges, we are making plans for the future and trying to figure out how to keep family close in this new stage of life with older kids and different pressures.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A quick swing by

Just swinging by to say I smell like sewage and desperately need my roots done. 40 is terribly glamorous. Off to sort and fold clean laundry, change my stinky clothes (imagine elbow deep in several day smelly laundry water)(you can only judge if you've never left a load of laundry in the washing machine a tad longer than planned) (Ok, I forgot I ran it, and the washer didn't drain, and then I went on laundry strike for maybe 4 or 5 days), participate in Bible study and plan meals for the week. Not in that order.

Be jealous of my awesome God-filled life, because I sure do have it all tog.... can't even finish typing that one. It's just heresy. My life is life. Good/bad/smelly/otherwise.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Class Snapshot

Every year teachers have to compile a spreadsheet with all the important information about each student and turn it in to the administration. You'd think in this technological age that you could just run a report or something, but not when all the information is spread throughout 3 different systems and a paper cum. So here is my snapshot. Oh, I won't be turning this one in...

42 students, 21 in each class
homeroom has:
 15 boys and 6 girls
 8 GT students
 1 Doctor Who fan
 1 student on homebound because she has been battling a cancerous brain tumor since early Spring

afternoon class has:
 12 boys and 9 girls
 1 autistic student, high functioning but needy
 3 girls that I have yet hear speak
 1 student who is in the church class I lead on Sunday mornings. She is very excited about seeing me 6 days a week!
 1 immature Taiwanese child whose parents speak little English
 4 students who have been retained at some point
 1 who despises reading but his parents are sure he should be reading chapter books

All in all, it's an interesting and challenging group. All the kids that aren't accounted for seem to be very sweet, mannerly and willing to do anything I ask of them. So far.

It's going to be a good year!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My summer has been amazing and it isn't over yet! Nope, I still have a few days left, even if they are peppered with meetings and my mind is on prepping for school. I want to take a minute and review all the interesting things I have found/learned this summer.

1. A use for Twitter - I finally found a purpose for it, and that is Professional Development. This summer I was able to connect with other teachers, librarians, authors, and organizations that are in line with what I do a living. So much fun to be connected to the big wide world out there. I think our hours on Twitter should count for back to school inservice.

2. Diigo - on online bookmark for websites. Imagine if you could take your favorites with you onto any computer. You can! You can also create lists and annotate so you know what you are looking at.

3. www.ipl.org - an amazing resource for information that is authoritative and easy to use. It will be an opening screen on my school computers this year.

4. The Book Whisperer - This is a book written by Donalyn Miller that explains why I think we should read books in reading class, instead of do worksheets ad nauseum and play games and talk instead of think. It's like someone took my idea, wrote the book, got it published, and did all the work so people could know what I think.

5. I have not found my next "favorite" "addicting" "amazing" book. I think it just hasn't been written yet. But I am still looking. I have read a lot of "eh,ok" and some "waste of my precious summer" books.

6. Jonathan Friesen - an author with a Christian world view. You can follow him on Facebook with some combination of his name and the word "author". He just published a book called Aquifer with Zondervan's Blink (YA) Publishing. I read snippets and it looks really good. I also got to chat with him at a virtual conference in July. He has Tourette's and a heart for Jesus.

7. The director of the Percy Jackson movie, Thor somebody, and Tamora Pierce, queen of fantasy writing, each answered a question I submitted and it was like they were talking to me! So fun to have a touch with "the big leagues".

8. Getting away from academic and vocational stuff, I learned that my kids are amazing. Not because they are cute or funny or smart. They are amazing because they get along, most of the time. They are amazing because they entertain themselves. They are amazing because they understand that when I say "Take some initiative and do something" I mean "go do chores without me telling you what needs to be done." They are still working on it, but they are learning and I see a great future for them. Future wives, you are welcome.

9. Teaching you child how to make coffee can be an emotional experience. It's a family right of passage.

10. I never want my snuggler to outgrow his need to crawl up in my lap and give me a big ol hug. I'm sure when he is 6 ft tall, I will feel differently, but for now, I want to hang on to those last remaining pieces of childhood. I am really going to miss this stage of life with him.

Those are the top 10 things I discovered this summer. It has been a great break from the routine. I'm still not ready to head back, but at least I know I used my summer well. Living a life of no regrets is a powerful thing.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

T minus

T minus 2 weeks.. and counting. This is the time of year I get all squiggly and nervous and regretful and anxious. There are two weeks until I have to report back to work. Yay for summer! But now I have to make hard choices. Go into the school  and work on my room so that the children will have a pleasant place to learn or stay in my pajamas and watch Netflix? Finally take my car in early for that oil change that is more than a little over due or sleep in? Stare regretfully and the piles of things that didn't get cleaned, organized, or thrown out this summer or half heartedly throw stuff away until the trash can is full to the brim (and then stare regretfully at all that is left and wonder why it doesn't look cleaner)? Grocery shop with the future in mind, stocking up on the sale stuff so I can be prepared in a few weeks when I don't have time to think, or continue the summer once a day trip to the grocery as my whim strikes?

I am not ready to kick life back into gear. Honestly, summer vacation is my dream life. What would I do if I had to get a job that didn't have a long break in the middle of the year? I have no idea. I have been on a school schedule, nonstop, since I started school when I was 5. Not a year off. Straight through. For 35 years. Looking at it like that makes me want a drink of something more powerful that Dr Pepper.

I have choices to make tomorrow that will define my week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Initiative - learned or genetic?

I had a talk with the children today. It was a while in coming. You see, it's time to take a step forward. It's time for some independence... for Mom.

I've had several conversations recently with family and friends about kids taking initiative in personal responsibilities. Is it personality driven or a learned behavior? Gender related? I have no idea. What I do know is that I am sick and tired of having to tell them to do their chores, which chores to do, and manage the whole buffet of household "whatnot"ery.

Today, I made a list of all the chores they knew how to do.  It's mighty fancy (NOT). We talked about how I was going to be really busy in a month or so with two classes of graduate work and starting a school year with a new team member. About then it started to dawn on the kidlets that something out of their experience was coming. I asked them to help think of ways to make the dreaded chores automatic in their lives, so I wouldn't have to direct them. They didn't get it. "But Mom, we always do what you tell us to do." "What if I didn't have to tell you?" "Then how would we know to do it?" Exactly.

I got a sinking feeling in my tummy that this is going to be a long road to walk. I used the floor as an example. I hadn't told anyone to sweep in an embarrassingly long time and it was nasty. I asked them to look at it and see what I meant about "if you see it needs doing, get it done". They looked at me with wide innocent eyes and proclaimed "It looks fine Mom". Hmmm, they really didn't see the dog hair, dirt, crumbs, leaves, toys, and used Kleenex under the coffee table.

Taking the initiative requires the knowledge that something needs to be done. Somehow, the fact that something ALWAYS needs to be done is not in their personal encyclopedia of general knowledge.

So, I am embarking on an experiment to see if I can teach two good little boys how to take initiative and just get it done without me telling them to do it.

Stop Laughing! Let a girl dream a little!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Summer Life

The Summer Life, it's a whole different world. It does amazing things in our family. We spend time together. We play games. We watch amazing amount of television. We go places. We don't feel run by schedules and alarms. We relax and ride the waves of life, much like a lazy river at a water park.

Our schedules, which are unashamedly rigid during the school year, get much less apparent, nonexistent you might say. For example, my 10 pm Cinderella type self was wide awake after 12:30 am this morning. I only went to bed because the poor husband had to go to work in the morning. During the school year, I am up around 5:30 am, 6:00 if the alarm doesn't go off. I woke at 9:15 this morning (after being awake for a bit while the poor husband got ready and left for work).

The dark circles under my eyes go away in the summer. The twitch in my right eye disappears, too. I cook more often. I look for healthy instead of fast foods, sometimes. I answer "sure, why not!" much more often when the kids ask for something or to do something. I forget to eat lunch at lunch time and usually end up having linner or dunch. I read a lot of books and see movies. It's a good life.

This summer has been a lot of traveling, but is finally settling down. We have gone some amazing places, but I am happy to be home for a while. After about 2 weeks at home, I usually feel the need to clean stuff. So, that should be happening pretty soon. I hope. I really want to have the compulsion to keep a clean and tidy house. But that bend in the lazy river of life has yet to arrive. Until then, we will float along doing what needs to be done.

Taking college courses is a new thing this summer. I am currently in a class about reference services in the library and have several projects to complete, along with some traditional paper activities. It's a really informational class. I still have a lot to do in the next 2 weeks. I find it hard to switch back and forth between studious student and laid back Mom, but it is working out. I love to geek out and learn stuff. I love to be a lazy lump and vegetate. It is my Summer Life. And I like it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What to do?What to do?

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized it was my first day of summer! How could July 1 be the first day? Well, it was the first day I didn't have anything pressing to do since I got out of school. June flew by at the rate of light. I'm sure there was a WARP drive in there somewhere. And now I have 3 whole days before I am off on another trip. And the husband is home because he took a day off! Woo-hoo!

So, I sit here and wonder what I will do with the day. I don't want to spend it online. I want to DO something. Something new. Something I've done before. It doesn't really matter. Just so that the family can do something together. We've done lots of stuff. Just not much together. Because we haven't really been together much. Between trips and VBS and that pesky job, our family time has shrunk to nothingness.

The problem is, I don't know what I want to do. A movie was suggested. Not a bad idea. But not amazing. A mall excursion. Nah, who wants to just window shop? Bowling? perhaps. Kayaking to the lake? maybe if it isn't too hot.

Hmm, I still don't know. But I do know I need a shower. So that is a good place to start. Maybe a great idea will strike as I wash my hair.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stretched and streching

Truth: God shows his faithfulness in small ways to prepare my heart for bigger steps of faith.
Truth: I am a big chicken who prefers a sure thing over the "maybe"
Truth: Only God knows the future
Truth: I have to daily die to myself to be OK with that

God provided for my summer classes. Even when I was a nervous Nelly who got all worked up over NOTHING, He patiently showed me His quiet way.

Now, I've been presented with the possibility of the family joining Chris on the Germany trip if some very specific things happen. Chris is giddy with the possibility. It's just that, a possibility, not a given. We are in prayer. Care to join us? We are going to get the boys' passports just in case. (because there is nothing else to do this week, of course!)

Can you see me shaking my head? Not in defeat or despair, but more in disbelief that this is my life. Have you ever had that moment when you stop and wonder just what else was in store for the future because the recent past has been  incredibly difficult in your faith walk? Sigh. It is my blessed life.

Friday, May 31, 2013


$42.00. The account got down to $42.00 before payday. We were able to make it, and pay for school, and eat, and do what needed to be done. Did you know that the end of school is expensive???

Why do I share such a personal thing you might ask. Because having such slim margins for error freak me out! But I am finding that the older I get, the more important those margins are. And I am questioning if they should be all that important. I think being obediant to what God has called me to do is more important than sweating the money flow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Forgot to share

I seldom forget to share stuff as I live my life out in the open, mostly, well, at least the stuff I want you to know.

I did pay the tuition on Friday. And it still hasn't cleared my account. Tomorrow is the day to see if we overdraw or not. I shift back and forth between worry and dread and reminding myself to have faith that the Lord will take care of us. I can no longer wag my finger at those crazy forgetful Hebrews who so quickly walked away from God after He had done so many miracles for them. I, too, forget what He has done.

I forget that He has called me to this process of getting a Master's degree when I worry about getting it all done.

I forget that He has parented me when I worry about how I am parenting my kids.

I forget that He has ordered my steps when I look at my calendar and get the shiver/shakes when I see week after week filled up in "MY" relaxing summer.

I forget that He has called me to live a life without regrets when I see all the things to do on my list instead of opportunities to serve others.

I forget. It's that simple. And He is faithful to remind me who is really the boss in my life.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Faith deadline

I have previously shared my test of faith in regards to tuition for this summer. The deadline is 5 days away. God has shown me that there may be enough left in the checking account for me to pay it outright. That in itself is an answer to prayer. I could transfer the money today. The twist comes with the fact that it will drain the account and leave little spending money for the next week, a week that includes friends coming down for the long weekend, groceries for the family, and some end of school expenses. And a child who is sick with a bug.We don't get paid until Friday. I know that we won't go hungry, though the meals might be highly unbalanced, and the bills won't be late. It's just a really close shave if you know what I mean. I hate not having that "padding" in the account for the unforeseen needs that crop up many times. How much am I willing to sacrifice? How much of my "financial" safety am I willing to sacrifice?

I will most likely decide how to proceed today . Your prayers are precious and working. I stayed strong and didn't jump at the "last minute emergency summer tuition loan" they offered me. I was tempted, but quickly remembered the conviction I am under about that.

I hate deadlines, but they do force me into action when I am frozen in uncertainty. That's a good thing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lazy Saturday morning

Lazy Saturday morning
A day filled with possibilities
What will I make of it?

Will I worry needlessly about where the money for school will come from?
I will not.
Will I waste the time playing ridiculous games that involve crushing virtual candy?
I will not.
Will I fuss at the family for their inability to see dirt, junk, and mess strewn around the house?
I will not.

Will I spend time with God and ask for the faith to wait patiently for his plan to be made know?
Yes, I will!
Will I work diligently to improve my surroundings for myself and those I love?
Yes, I will!
Will I ask the family to pitch in and help instead of glaring at them while I do it myself?
Yes, I will!

Lazy Saturday morning
A day made more clear
What will I make of it?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Running through...

A quick numerical update as I am running through the house..

16 days of school left. 24 days til we leave for camp. 15 days until summer classes start. $1500 needed to pay off summer classes (I dropped to 6 hours instead of 12). 20 appendages that need painting. 3 retirement parties left to attend. 1 raccoon still haunting my chimney. 1 raccoon shot by my neighbor off the back fence. 3 days left of paid vacation that I can't find the time to take. 10 loads of laundry that need doing. 30 minutes by myself today.

Off to church!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Updates, updates

Just a quick update... STAAR week went fine and as expected. The kids worked really hard and I am proud of them no matter how they score

Finances for summer classes are trickling in. My $500 scholarship will post for summer, so that's about 10%. Still waiting for word on the rest. Keep praying and I will share when there is news to share and we can praise the Lord together.

I had a great visit with my mom last weekend. So good to see her. Some times, seeing Momma makes it all better.

That about covers it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

On the eve of STAAR

Tomorrow begins STAAR testing week. And I am dreading it. Not because I have to actively monitor a 4 hour test. Nor because the daily schedule will be mixed up so that the kids are completely out of sorts. But because I think the test is a false measure of what my kids know. Because my third graders still have 6 weeks to make progress. Because they shouldn't have to take a test that is more fitting to a 5th or 6th grader. Because the students I have grown to love and care about are nervous about taking a standardized test for the first time and I know they won't get the rest they need.

My own third grader seems a little oblivious to the fact that he has a big test to take. He knows it will be hard and he just doesn't show much emotion about it. Maybe that will change tomorrow. Maybe not. I can only hope that these days pass in the blurr that they are.

All week I have been seeing articles about state testing and how inappropriate it is and I know it will always be here. That makes me sad. Because I know that having a high stakes test promotes poor, narrowly focused teaching in order to make a score. Because accountability in the test falls on teachers, schools, prinicipals, and districts and not the students themselves. And I know that as long as a company can make money producing tests for an entire state or nation, it will be in their best interests to listen to the people with the money, and that is not the teachers who understand how education works. It makes me sad.

So I'm going to head into this week with an attitude of love, caring, and survival. And when it is finished, I will get back to the real business of teaching students life skills that are not scored on a bubble sheet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day start.
On time for early tutoring.
Kids grounded from screens.
Sad kids.
Busy day.
Lots to teach.
Cranky students.
Team meeting.
Many parent contacts.
More teaching.
Stubborn student.
Job done.
See friend with flat tire.
Help friend.
Get home.
Door knob broken.
Got Screwdriver.
Removed door knob.
Texted husband.
Helped son with homework.
Reheated dinner.
Cranky Mommy.
Daddy home.
Download day.
Feeling better.
Off to get new door knob.
Find new door knob.
Tuck kids in.
Fix old door knob.
Dead tired.
Read for fun.
Day ends.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm home this morning with an ear-achy kid and missing my church family. Well, if you know about us, you know we have a dog. He is old. He can be super sweet, but he can also be a royal pain. He has taken to randomly peeing on our floors. A lot! He has been the recipient of many unkind words and threats, all well deserved. And today, there was that sweet kind of vengeance that the Bible talks about. The one where it's all God and not me at all.

So, puppy decided to get up, look at me, and start peeing, then run to the opposite corner of the room peeing all the way. In his hurry to get away from the screaming banshee (that would be me in my robe with stringy wet hair not having had a cup of coffee yet.. get the image), he climbed under the chair, and got stuck. Really stuck. He put himself in puppy stocks! The husband and I went from seeing red to that little giggle, to full blown laughs. I wish I had thought of this sooner.

Before you call the SPCA, I did get him out, there was no harm done, and remember, he did this to himself.
Today's lesson: When you have a gimpy hip, don't try to climb through the chair legs.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Someone come restart my heart!

I just registered for my summer classes. 12 graduate hours. It's a lot of work and will require diligence on my part. But it's so much more when you realize it costs almost $5000! Oh yeah. No joke. I got a scholarship for the fall/spring which will cover about 75% of the bill. Yay! But I am not endowed for the summer. What's a girl to do?

You could say "Silly girl, you are Cra-Cra! That is proof you are nuts and you should just drop those classes and enjoy your well deserved break!" That is an option. But it would put off graduation for another year. Or you could suggest that I take out a student loan. They are there for the taking. However, I have made myself a promise that I would not take out any more loans to pay for this degree. Debt is too big of a burden for us right now, and I will not add to it with my education. I would sooner quit than take another loan out.

But I have a thought that maybe, just maybe, God could intervene. If He is as excited as I am about where I will serve him with my job, I know he is able to finance that endeavor. So, crazy girl that I am, I am praying for a Divine windfall of finances.  Before you call the men with the nice white jackets, I understand how crazy that sounds. The phrases "bad financial planning" ,"lazy" ,"why would HE even care" ,"NO ONE expects money to fall into their account unless they are completely off their rocker" all are running through my mind. I get it. It's a faith step.

Not to over spiritualize it, but money and waiting and faith are all very interrelated for me. God has never let me miss a meal due to finances. I have never been homeless or worn threadbare clothes (unless I wanted to). And God has always financed what He wanted me to accomplish. College bills, mission trips, camps, kids, you name it! If God was in it, the resources are there.

Will you pray with me? Will you pray that God would provide if He wills me to take this class load? Will you pray that I would not give in to the temptation of taking out a loan when it comes to the deadline and I have to drop classes if God has not provided?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recent Observations

I have lost my storytelling mojo. At least that's what it feels like. Amidst life and the stresses of the Spring semester, I just can't craft a story that makes sense and is the littlest bit interesting. Instead I think I will share my recent observations:

STAAR testing  is an awful way to track the abilities and performance of public school children

I will not be lured in by cute graphics on my paper towels again because Sparkle brand sucks! They don't tear right and are as absorbant as a rock.

I am really nervous about the summer classes I am about to sign up for. 2 classes in both summer sessions, assuming of course that I can pay for them. That's a lot of work (12 graduate hours) in 2 little months. But that will put me closer to the goal of finishing grad school.

I got a scholarship for next year! Yay! That'll will certainly take a chunk out of the financial burden. Praying for some other ones to come through in time to help with summer. I will find out by the end of May.

I really want to start working out, but just can't figure out the when. I guess I could get off the computer and go walk right now, but it is getting ready to rain from these pregnant clouds that have been hanging low over the city all day.

I am needing a new author to read and love. You'd think a future librarian wouldn't have this problem, but you'd be wrong. Really engaging books are hard to find in the mountains of craptastic writing out there.

If I was a superhero, my archnemesis would have something to do with sorting laundry.

I have been around a lot of cancer and death lately, and that makes me think morbidly. Like I really need to get a will made and make those "final preparations". And I've been thinking about what music I want to make people listen to at my funeral. I am fairly certain it will not include Randy Travis singing the old rugged cross or Dolly Parton crooning something about butterflies. At least the list has narrowed a bit.

Retiring teachers should not be allowed to be alone with children or parents. They say the darndest things!

The pants I am wearing really need to be retired. They are washed out, a little too short, and pinching at the waistband. Yep, time to bury them.

And to wrap up, here are some pictures from Easter:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cookie Crack

Define Cookie Crack.

A) an unfortunate side effect of ill fitting jeans after eating too many cookies ?
B) the additive that ChickFilA puts in all their Chocolate Chunk cookies to ensure better sales?
C) a ridge that forms when you attempt to make a large, soft, chewy cookie small enough to fit into a class of milk?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Whiner - 0, Mom - 1

Mooooooom (the whiner wailed) I don't want to see THE VIDEO tomorrow. It's just inappropriate and gross. They shouldn't show kids that stuff. Hormones and hair and, just ick! Who wants to hear about that. Can't I just be absent? Or Dad could get me early?

Well, honey, I guess we could do that, but then I'd get to share that information with you instead. Your choice.

Video, definitely video. And let's never speak of this again.

(I love my life some days)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Future MacGyvers?

Today was a benchmark day at school. That means the kids had to take a really long test so that we can find out if they are ready to take the really long state test in about 6 weeks. Yes, it's a test to see if they are ready for the test. It's crazy long (3 uninterrupted hours) (for 8-9 year olds) and leads to a lot of silent time sitting at a desk with virtually no means of entertainment.

I had to laugh and found myself with sticky notes jotting down all the things the kids found to do at their desks silently with only a pencil, tissue, and possible a gum wrapper. Oh, and one of them managed to find a paper clip within arms reach and that really increased the creativity. They had the option when they were done with the test of put your head down or sit there. Only 3 put their heads on the desk. The rest managed to:

turn gum wrapper into origami flag that was attached to the paper clip

wrap tissue around the pencil and create several new dress fashions, or maybe it was a tornado

hold pencil between upper lip and nose and try to get other kids to react to the pencil mustache

practice force/motion of blowing a pencil just to the edge of the desk, but not far enough to fall off

create entire episode of ninja fighting with just fingers

design centimeter grid on top of desk with the eraser end of a pencil

balance tissues on the pointy pencil end while pencil is balanced vertically on the eraser end

something resembling the baby Peek-a Boo game with tissue and maybe a booger (or shredded eraser)

There was more, but I couldn't get it all down. Really, who says standardized tests remove the creativity from the classroom?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In a Groove

It's been too long since my last update, and that one was rather rushed. Our lives are in kind of a groove at the moment, nothing momentious, but stuff happens everyday. Here's a snapshot of the crew:

Chris, back from Deutschland, but his suitcase is still downstairs, mostly unpacked. That should probably be a secret, but I do strive to be transparent with the reality that is our life. He is working like a crazy man and when not working, is decompressing. Just in time to do it all again.

Ryan is embracing the 12 year old preteen that is him. Everything is questioned and his attempts at sneakiness are regularly thwarted. Poor kid. He doesn't stand a chance in that respect. Both his parents were sneaky decades before him. And if not sneaky, we work with kids and teens everyday so we really have seen it all. Otherwise, he vascillates between super sweet and crazy stubborn argumentative. Oh, and he realized he is taller than me. Darn it!

Josh is 3 days from being 9 and would like everyone to know about it. His obsession with all things Dr Who and Spiderman continue. Please bear that in mind when considering gifts. He asked me to tell you that. He is growing taller and smarter and more observant. I think I am in trouble with that one. Oh, and his days of sitting in my lap are numbered. He tries to fit, but, well, we'll see how long it lasts. He is lingering in the kid mode and I am enjoying it. I know that he will be a very different kind of preteen than his brother, more willing to bend, but also less open.

As for me, well, I am doing what I always do, school, home, feed the masses, chores to keep it all happening, school, sleep. I find myself keeping the ship afloat, but just barely some days. I love my online class this semester. Somehow having just one seems easier than it should. Work is good. My classes are full of mostly sweet, kind, smart, kids. They make me laugh and want to give them my best every day. Also, my teaching partner got named Teacher of the Year on Friday, and well deserved. I realized that every teaching partner I've had, except the one who quit teaching, has gotten teacher of the year. I'd like to think I had something to do with that, but most likely, I just get to teach with the very best!

So there you have it. No great tales, but good life chugging along.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

which tale to tell

Would you like to hear the story of the reluctant missionary? The day of family fun? A real life fairy tale which might or might not have a happy ending?

How about I give you the first few sentences and let you decide..

The Reluctant Missionary
Once upon a time, there was a man of God who took an amazing journey filled with planes, trains and automobiles. The trial of his journey occured before he arrived at his destination.

Family Fun
Bright blue skies and mild temperatures surrounded the mismatched crew of truants as they ambled toward the ocean. A sketchy plan of fun was in place, yet open to revision as needed.

Real Life Fairy Tale
In the land of humidity and bagpipes, a friendship was formed in the hand of God. Through the laughs and tears of years, they supported one another in their life endeavors. Then one day, the wild haired princess fell in love.

Those are the tales that have dominated my world for the last few weeks. I'm not sure how to end any of them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christmas/New Year photo onslaught

Family kitchen fun

We will pose, but we will not like it.

Yes, as a matter of fact we are autopsying an alien.

Cousins are cool!

Being taller than our older cousin is cooler.

A rite in Texas, first lesson with a .22

Good form!

Not bad for a lefty!

Christmas with the other side of the family is fun too!

Anything can be a bookmark!

Who is ready to Par-tay?

Missing 1, but we had fun. Can you tell?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It has been a busy couple of weeks around Willingham's World: back to school after the holidays, big weekend church event, start of a new semester of classes, and the impending trip to Germany that Hubby is taking. That last one isn't really time consuming for me, but it sure does color the mood of the house.

I also realized that I never shared any fun Christmas photos. Shame on me. So here are some of the good ones...

Well, it won't let me upload pics right now. Apparently I have forgotten something or maybe the website isn't working. That's kind of the way it rolls around here lately. Make a plan. Plan doesn't work due to some unforseen issue. Change plan. Pray for the best. I said lately, but it's the way things have always gone.

I'll work on the picture issue and see if I can upload some soon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dealing with SAD

It has been a sad few weeks in my world. People who I care about are hurting in intense and difficult ways. They are people of faith and hope. They will endure the current hell on this earth they are walking through. This post isn't about them. Their stories are as heart breaking as you can imagine. I just have so many strong feelings to process and so few outlets. Prayer is my outlet. But most days it doesn't conquer the sad. Sad doesn't get prayed away. Sad just is.

Broken relationships, death of one too young, life altering illnesses.. these are the things that can't be fixed with a quick word of wisdom or a dinner on a cold night. Those things are good and help, but these are the unfixable things that we dread in life. And my friends are going through it. And I am THAT friend who stands beside them (whether they are near or far in location) in Spirit and hurts for them and loves them and cannot help solve a life situation that is more than a problem.

Please pray for..

my friends going through critical marriage relationship devastation

my friend who has recently lost her spouse

my friends who are starting the battle with cancer in various forms when just 2 weeks ago all seemed well

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jan 1, 2013

What a day it has been! I have run the gamut gamet gammet whole range of emotions. In summary:

Welcomed in the new year with the Bacons!

Woke up.

Ate lunch at McAllisters.

Found out that a friend's husband has dies after a brief bout of panreatitis (sp?) that turned to sepsis.

Battled a major migraine level headache for 5 hours.

Counseled the eldest child about what is fair and unfair in life in the middle of the headache.

Chatted with a friend I haven't talked with in a while.

I am now tired and hoping that the rest of the days in 2013 are not as full.

Happy New Year everyone!