Monday, April 26, 2010


My first born child got braces today. Check him out:

He's not terribly thrilled about the whole thing, but he really likes his orthodontist. He says that Dr. Cohen is really fun and made him laugh the whole time. He loved the fact that he got to design his own removable retainer thingy. He put black and white stripes and a cross in it.

He's having a little trouble talking right now, which is really not a problem for me at all. He sounds like there's a giant cough drop in the roof of his mouth. The slobber factory is working double shifts right now, so he keeps making these really funky, slurpy noises.

Dan gave him some ibuprofen for the pain, so hopefully he's not too uncomfortable tonight. I think I'll send some to school
tomorrow, just in case he needs it. Poor kid.

I sure hope he enjoys his super-straight, shiny-white teeth in a couple of years. I could'v
e bought a used car for what I'm going to be spending on this kid's mouth.

But he's totally worth it.

Now I just hope he can remember how to brush around the braces and avoid eating all the things on the no-no list.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tin Grins are In

Tomorrow my oldest baby boy will get braces. I never had braces, but I can imagine that they're going to hurt like the devil. I know what a wimp I am when I skip a week of flossing and then my gums bleed when I pick up the habit again. Well, he's probably going to feel like that for the next two years, poor kid.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm going to feed him popcorn, hard candy, Laffy Taffy, and bubblegum for dinner tonight: all the things he won't be able to have for the next 24-28 months.

Because I am a good mom.

Also because I don't want to cook.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Overheard in My Classroom

Girl(While working on a Tennessee History project): Did you just say your mother is trying to grow a beard?
Boy: No! I said, "I thought William Blount had a beard." Sheesh. Clean out your ears.

Girl #1 (talking to another girl about taking the state assessment): My mom said she really doesn't care if I fail the TCAP because they can't hold me back even if I do.
Girl #2: Yeah, but I heard that teachers get graded by how their kids do on the test. So we better do a good job so Mrs. Brewer will get an A because we love her.
Girl #1: Yeah, you're right. We should try hard for her sake.

Boy #1: Mrs. Brewer doesn't like it when you say fart because she says that's a rude word. You should say toot instead.
Boy #2: What difference does it make which word you use?
Either way it's still air that comes out of your butt.
Boy#1: I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to say butt either.
Boy #2(sadly): She won't let us use all the good words.
Boy #1 (nodding): Yeah.

Girl (after the science test): Mrs. Brewer, those songs you taught us really helped me remember stuff. I was humming the water cycle song and I remembered about condensation, precipitation, and evaporation.
Boy #1: Yeah, and yesterday I remembered the mean, median, mode, and range song in Math.
Boy #2: Me too. (thinking) Maybe it's not such a bad thing that you go around singing all the time.

Girl: Oh, I love your toenails, Mrs. Brewer. They're so cute in pink and I love the flowers on your big toe. (Looks at my hands and sighs with disappointment.) I guess you didn't have time to paint your fingernails, huh?

I love my class.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random Tuesday

In which I ramble on about nothing in particular, but you're used to that by now. Random is what I do when I lack the energy and/or creativity to write an entire post about one topic. Or when I'm so tired I even bore myself to tears. So, here goes...

Aaron started the morning off yesterday by throwing up. I looked at him and said, "Seriously? You've had seventeen days off and you decide to get sick today? The day before TCAPs?" Yes, I'm nothing if not compassionate. Thank goodness we're so close to my Mom now. She took him to the doctor just to rule out strep throat (so he won't miss testing or infect his entire class). They said his ears were full of wax build-up. Again. Really? Seriously? Mom said it looked like two giant cockroaches had crawled up in his ears and died. They couldn't even irrigate it all out--they had to use tools and stuff to reach up in there and get it out.

And it hurt. And he cried. And I was at work.

Could you please pull that knife out of my heart? I don't think I can say enough how glad I am that we live close to my mom now, but I'm still sad when someone other than me has to take care of them while I work. I'm used to being the stay-at-home mom, not a full-time teacher.

We don't know how to prevent this from happening yet again, but it at least explains the nausea. We went swimming Friday night at the hotel...

Digression: Oops, I forgot to tell you that we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Chattanooga Friday and Saturday. Look, I don't tell you everything, guys. Anyway, Dan had business down there so we tagged along. The kids swam (I napped and avoided having to wear a bathing suit), we spent the night, and then we did the aquarium and IMAX thing and came home in time for church the next morning. No biggie.

So anyway, the swimming probably caused the nausea because water was trapped behind all the wax in his ears. Saturday at the aquarium he complained about a headache and dizziness, but he was fine Sunday. Then threw up Monday morning. Aren't ears weird? He was back at school today, no worse for the wear.

As I mentioned, TCAPs started this morning, which means I have three more days of misery. I'd rather TAKE the test myself than stand by helplessly reading over my pumpkins' shoulders as they struggle through the tests. I hate when I can see that they've answered something incorrectly and I'm powerless to change it. But I'm SO PROUD when I see them using the test-taking strategies that I've taught them all year: reading the questions first, then going back to read the passage so that they know what to look for as they read; eliminating answer choices they know are wrong so they have a better chance if they have to guess, taking deep breaths in through their noses and blowing out slowly through their mouths. (Yes, I totally do yoga with my kids. Your point was?) Since I'm not a big fan of straight rows and totally silent classrooms, I'm just trying to get through the rest of the week. I did my job (and I did it well, if I do say so myself) all year; now it's up to them. I love this class and I know they'll do an awesome job.

I survived Pilates again last night, but it's so hard. I was thinking very un-Christian thoughts about the itty-bitty, teeny-tiny little instructor on the video tape. I don't think she eats food.


I, on the other hand, eat enough for both her and myself. I brought my class doughnuts today (with a little note that said, "Donut you know you're going to do great on the TCAP?!" because,yes, I am that cheesy) and I had to sample them first, of course. Here's what's sad--I don't even like powdered doughnuts, but I ate them anyway. I ran/walked on the treadmill when I got home tonight to make up for it. Well, it probably only made up for ONE doughnut, but it's a start, right? I also walked the dog about two miles, but that doesn't count because she's slow and it was broken up into two different walks.

Kate Gosselin is finally going home, thank goodness. Tony showed some class and said very nice things about her at the end, but you know he was relieved that he doesn't have to work with her any more. As much as I cannot stand Pamela Anderson, she has danced well the last two weeks. It pains me to admit that, but she's pretty good. I still think she's disgustingly trampy, but it gets ratings. I'm ready for Jake to go home next because anything associated with The Bachelor is just icky.

I found out tonight that someone from my new church (hi, Loren) is reading the blog, so I have to try to be on my best behavior. We'll see how long that lasts. I'm excited about working with children's ministry on Wednesday nights this summer! YAY!

Now I need to go to bed so I can get up early and walk in quiet, boring, seemingly endless circles around the room tomorrow, observing and monitoring my students while they take the Math TCAP test. Ugh. Friday can't get here soon enough.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mommy Home Gym

I survived Pilates last Monday at church, but just barely. Who knew that a giant kickball could kick my abs so hard. I'm going back tomorrow night, so please pray.

I went out for Mexican food with some teacher friends last Thursday night, obliterating all the good work I'd done Monday and necessitating the return visit to Pilates class.

I created my own little Mommy Gym in a corner of the garage today. First I spread out a hot pink area rug with multi-colored paisley/amoeba things. I got it at a yard sale for $10 and had planned to use it in my classroom but it's too cute for school. Then I pulled the treadmill out there. Then I dragged over a little bookcase to hold my stretchy tension bands, hand-weights, and sweat towels. On top I put a portable TV/DVD player that the kids don't use anymore so that I could play exercise DVDs.

The whole area is so cute! Now if only I could make myself go out there and work out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You Had Me at Easter

I mentioned the church we visited last week. Well, this week guess what I received in the mail. Give up? It was a hand-written note from the pastor. That on its own was pretty cool, especially when you consider the anonymity of the mega church that we last attended. But guess what else was in the card.

You'll never guess.

A Starbucks gift card! So, naturally I was impressed and giddy. We'd already decided to go back this week, but that was just icing on the scone.

Oh, and I was wrong about the guy in O'Charley's last week--it was the Student Pastor, not the Children's Pastor. But when Nine walked into Sunday school today he said, "Hey, I know you!" to a kid he recognized from school. Then another kid said to him, "I remember you. You bought my Grandma's house." Small world, huh?

We all had a great time again this Sunday. We saw three people from church at O'Charley's (yes, again) after the service. I'm planning to go to pilates at the church tomorrow night. It's feeling like home, except cleaner than our home is right now.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Gobsmacked by the Spirit

Our family has been thinking about finding a new church home for months now. We visited a church last summer, but it didn't quite feel right. The kids liked it because they have a great children's worship program, but I felt sort of empty. We'd just come from an enormous mega-church in Smyrna, and I never really felt like a part of things there.

In defense of that church, most of the blame is ours. Dan and I never really made an effort to connect with a small group or get involved in activities. I taught Sunday school because I felt that I should be serving, but never really felt served myself. I had friends there, but I never really joined them in anything church-related. I taught at the preschool connected with the church, Monday through Thursday, but didn't really see people I knew on Sunday. In fact, toward the end of our stay in Smyrna, I stopped going to worship altogether. I'd drop the kids at their class, and then I'd sit in the coffee shop and grade papers before reporting to my three-year-old class. The sanctuary was too cold for comfort, the music was too loud for my ears, and I got tired of repeating the same choruses over and over again. The pastor was a very nice man and I enjoyed his sermons, but I hated sitting in the sanctuary all by myself while Dan worked weekends.

So, long story longer, we have been lazy and stopped visiting Hendersonville churches to look for a new one once school started in August. Yesterday we had a list of possible churches to visit. I wanted to go to my grandmother's church to surprise her, but it's a long drive and we didn't get ready in time. We did the cosmic equivalent of flipping a coin: we decided to get ready and see which church had a service time closest to the time we were ready to go. It just happened to be Bluegrass Baptist Church, which is also the closest church, geographically speaking, to our house.

I think God was really trying to tell us something. After several smacks upside the head, we finally caught on that he was probably sending us signs that this church was the one we were looking for.

When we arrived, the parking lot greeters where so friendly and welcoming, which is kind of their whole gig, I understand that, but it still gave us a great big warm fuzzy feeling right off the bat. When we walked in, I was instantly greeted by an old friend from high school who remembered me right away. Then we met the pastor's wife who, coincidentally, is the fifth and sixth grade Sunday school teacher. Hello? Here's our sixth grader!

Then we went to the worship service. The kids went with us since we'd never been there before and didn't want to take the time to find their classes. Up front, painting a picture of rainbows after a storm while the preacher talked about God's promise to us, was a girl I was on pom-pon with in high school. She's the church's human resources person, so Dan had already met her through AFLAC. In the praise band, there was a guy Dan knows and has played guitar with before. In the middle of the music portion, the worship leader said, "Everyone in the media booth and the praise band and the choir is going to hate me right now, but I really feel like we have to do this song now." Turns out, it was one of my absolute favorite praise and worship songs at our old church in Brentwood, and I'm convinced that he chose it just for me.

Digression:For those of you playing along at home, that was two churches ago, where we were mega-involved (choir, praise band, praise team, softball, women's ministry, taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, and I was the preschool pastor) until I burned out. Long story, but we loved that church for a couple of years and have been looking for that feel ever since.

The sermon was great. The preacher is a real down-to-earth kind of guy. The church is a relaxed, come in jeans if you want to, kind of place and the worship experience didn't feel like a concert performance that was staged down to the last detail. Nobody made me turn and shake hands with my neighbor, which I've always hated. It's very awkward when you're new and you don't know a soul or when you're attending alone. Nothing screams LOSER like sitting alone in an auditorium with hundreds of people and being told to fellowship with strangers.
Nobody made me feel guilty if I didn't feel like clapping. Nobody made me feel like less of a Christian if I didn't raise my hands up. You know, if I'm moved to do that, I will, but don't force me. I would rather have five people in authentic, heart-felt worship than one hundred raising their hands because you told them to rather than because they felt moved to. My son WAS moved to. Halfway through the music, I looked over and saw my twelve-year-old singing along, hands raised in praise, totally into the experience.

A little background on this kid, he got to a point where he really didn't want to go to church. We spent so much time at church when I was on staff, that he just flat-out got tired of being there. He wanted to stay home and play with his toys. BUT this year in middle school, he's changed.

One day last fall he announced that he needed to get to school early on Thursday because he wanted to go to FCA. I said, "You want to join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? But you aren't an athlete. What's your sport?" He said, "Wii Sports Resort counts, doesn't it?" I couldn't argue with that logic. Since FCA starts before school at 7:00 and I don't have to be at my school until after 8:00, I was skeptical. But he's been attending consistently and he loves it. Thursday is the one day of the week that I don't have to drag that child out of bed. He sets his alarm and jumps out of bed, ready to get to school before I'm ready to leave. I've heard him talk about the songs and stuff, but I've never witnessed it with my own eyes. To look over and see my child unselfconsciously raising up his hands and belting out the praise...well, I'm getting all teared up just typing this.

Then, on the way out, Ryan ran into a friend of his from school. This is a new friend that he's been talking about a lot lately. We've been trying to get together with him outside of school and the plans keep falling through. We met his parents and set up a time to get them together on Thursday. Ryan said, "If he goes to this church, then we're definitely coming back here."

So far, everyone had received their own special little nudge from God except Aaron. He was excited about the church, don't get me wrong, but he hadn't experienced a little Holy Spirit zing of personal connection like the rest of us had. Well, we went to O'Charley's for lunch after the service. I took the schedule of events for the summer in children's ministry into the restaurant so I could tell Aaron about all the fun things they were going to do. As I was reading it, a young family was settling into the booth behind us. I recognized the mom because she's pretty and wore a bright pink shirt that caught my attention (you know me and pink), and knew that they went to the church we'd just been to. The man turned around and said, "Hey, that sounds familiar. I think I recognize that schedule." Ready for Aaron's personal connection? That guy sitting right behind him is the children's pastor! Zing!

Okay, Holy Spirit, we get it. No need to rent a skywriter or put a neon sign on our front lawn. We'll be back next week. :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Garage Sale Princess

Today's amazing garage sale finds:

  • cute black pants
  • hot pink "wrinkly on purpose" top
  • black spring blazer with embroidered bright flowers
  • black and pink spring scarf
  • brown "peasant skirt" with blue embroidered flowers
  • three pairs of "high end" flip-flops (pink and black, pink and green, and blue)
  • T-shirt and sweatshirt with Ryan's school logo
  • whoopie cushion for the boys
  • spring door decorations
  • electronic dart board
  • small suitcase with cherries (to match my big cherry suitcase)
  • jump rope for Ryan (because he liked the one I found last week for Aaron)
  • jewelry (ring, necklace, earrings)
  • volleyball
  • headband
  • purse
  • a pair of sneakers for Ryan
  • a T-shirt for my brother's birthday which says, "out of beer, life is crap"
  • a big, colorful rug for my classroom
  • a giant (17"??) computer monitor
  • and, the biggest bargain of all, a two-person patio swing with cushions, a canopy, and attached drink tables for only $40!!!
Then I went to Goodwill because they have a half-price sale the first Saturday of every month. The problem? Today is Friday, only I didn't realize that until AFTER I got back home. DUH!! I'm hoping that I can take it all back and repurchase it tomorrow to get the discount. Maybe they'll feel sorry for me and give me the moron discount.

And the best part and I are going out again tomorrow with two of her friends. I LOVE spring yard sales!