Friday, September 30, 2011

Thirty-nine and counting

The end of September marked my parents' 39th wedding anniversary. Amazing, isn't it?! The negativity of today's press would have us think that this doesn't happen anymore. But I know it does! It's not and never has been a perfect marriage--do those really exist when it's made up of two imperfect humans?--but it is one that, through God's grace, has weathered almost four decades. I am humbled to be a product of such a union.

Eli and I have been married 8.5 years (man, time does fly!) and my parents have been married 5 times as long. That's crazy! On Thursday morning, I announced to my homeroom that it was my parents' anniversary, and told them how long they had been married. "So lucky!" one of my star students said (and it should be noted that his parents are divorced--though I never would have guessed--and in his words, they can't stand each other, but they parent together). Lucky, huh?

I've caught myself recently trying to downplay the purported existence of luck. It's been such a cultural norm to say "Good luck!" to people as they face a trial, or to tell people how lucky they are when something good happens to them. I have recently consciously been saying, "Do your best!" or "Be your best!" and recognizing God's blessings in life.

So, no. My parents 39 years together has not been the result of luck. I bet they'd be the first to tell you that it's been a lot of hard work doing the best they can do through trials and tribulations, and that the years have been bathed in prayer and God's grace.

What a blessing to me, my sisters, and my family. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your commitment and devotion to each other. And thank you for your faith in a God who bridges the gap for your shortcomings and imperfections--that is what makes a marriage "perfect".

I love you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


You know, I used to think that checking e-mail on a telephone was a stupid thing to do. I was probably just jealous. Because just last week I was saying that I can't imagine life any other way.

And then Monday at school, my iPhone was stolen off my desk by one of my students. I didn't realize until it was too late in the day to do much about it except take statements, and I honestly have no idea who it was.

I think one of my faults (or, as a teacher, it usually a strength?) is that I think the best of people; somehow I'm the eternal optimist. I think that 95% of people, given the opportunity, will do the right thing. Given a second chance, I think that 80% of those who made the wrong decision the first time will make it right. (That leaves 1% of the original group that is just...mean or dimwitted.)

Remember the Baylor men's basketball scandal in 2003? No? Just me? Well, I was a big fan and supporter of Dave Bliss, an excellent coach, a positive role model, so when allegations about unrelated faculty/staff NCAA misconduct arose after investigations into the murder, I stood firmly next to Dave, sticking up for him, defending him (in a figurative sense--we weren't friends or anything). And then one day, my programming was interrupted by a news conference with Baylor's head coach where he was accepting full responsibility for and knowledge of the misconduct and resigning from his position. Wait. What?!? I felt so betrayed...

And Dave Bliss never coached college again (so far), but went on to coach prison basketball leagues. Do I think he was paying penance and trying to make it right? Yes, yes I do.

So here I am with my phone missing, and that sickening feeling in my gut that any one of the students I smile at, cheer on, encourage, could be the very child who stole from me; I have been betrayed again. Strangely, I'm not angry yet. And I hope to the Lord that I can be spared that.

The other adults want me to tell lies and scare the poo out of the kids about the lengths I can go to to recover the phone. I don't want to lie. That's part of the issue here anyway--one of the kids is lying to me and I refuse to stoop to his level. I just composed an e-mail to my colleagues whose numbers were stored in my phone and let them know of the possibility of receiving stupid text messages from some student who now has their phone number. I hate being that idiot who let this happen.

"You're certainly taking this well. Better than I would."

Yeah, I've heard that from several of my colleagues. But why waste time and energy getting angry when I have a shortage of both? I was very honest with them yesterday and told them that there are things more important to me than electronics, and that they should also take stock of what is invaluable to them. "You don't care, Mrs. Beaver?" Yes, of course I care. But I think I'm more worried about this student and what his motives are.

In class, we just read Langston Hughes's "Thank You, M'am", and I only wish I could be as noble as Mrs. Louella Bates Washington Jones when the boy tells her he tried to steal her purse because he wanted to buy himself some blue suede shoes. "You coulda' asked," she told him. "M'am?" the boy asked in disbelief. She made him wash his face, she fed him, and then she gave him some money and sent him on his way, admonishing him not to steal from anyone again. "Shoes got in devilish ways will burn your feet."

Well, I'm praying for this student, and I'm telling my students that phones got in devilish ways will burn their ears.

And I haven't decided if I am going to get another phone at all. I may just pay to break the contract. It's kinda' freeing being untethered like this. And I can't afford a new phone, nor am I going to ask anyone else to shoulder the expense for me again. All I need is an answering machine and I can go back to being old-fashioned. Haha.

So, I don't know what I'm supposed to do or how I'm supposed to feel, so I may be a little cuckoo/confused/depressed/frustrated for a while. Jill baked me cookies last night, and that made me smile. And yes, out of two dozen, I probably have eaten 16 of them in the last 24 hours (not including the 3 dough balls). And Eli gave me a big hug. And Mom tried to track the prankster who texted her. And Stacey wants to come BE the police. Love you guys.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The babysitter asked me today if Elsie talks in her sleep.  Not an odd question since I probably do, and so does Eli from time to time.

But, then she told me about something that Elsie did during naptime today.  They sleep on nap cots, and about an hour after they laid down, Elsie got up from her cot, rolled up her napper (blanket thing) and put it in her drawer, and then went and sat on one of the other children.  The other child woke up screaming, and then Elsie woke up screaming, and then all the children were screaming.

She's a sleepwalker!  The babysitter said she watched this unfold just to see what Elsie would do.    This freaks me out a little bit.  I can't forget to close the gate at the top of stairs before bed ever again. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hurricane Elsie

I have a lot of catching up to do. It's been a busy month. Oscar turned one last month and I have posts in my brain waiting to be written, but school also started and Eli had his two-week drill, so maybe this weekend. But, while I have the little blond hurricane on my mind, I figured I'd go ahead and do an update, because, really, grading papers can wait...again.

Elsie's month was something like this:

Our neighbor let us borrow their toddler bed, so Elsie is in a "big girl" bed, and Oscar is finally in a crib (and not the pack'n'play). I was going to say that she's been doing a good job staying put, but I hear the pitter-pat of feet upstairs, even after using the SuperNanny method of putting her back. She has no fear.

We just had a long weekend, and Elsie had three good days. Not too many tantrums, thank goodness. But, alas, tantrums are still the norm. I can deal with them until she gets physical and starts taking out her anger by hitting or spitting on me, or by pushing, kicking, hitting, shoving Oscar. Then I have to keep my temper at bay.

She mostly refuses to sit in her high chair. Instead, she wants to pull a chair up to the high chair and still eat off of the tray.

We haven't really potty trained, but sometimes Elsie asks to go on the potty, and she does. And because a mother never really gets any privacy, so I've found out, she's apt to tell me "good girl" for my efforts as well.

Toothbrushing is a chore...again. She goes in fits and spurts. We've tried Elsie's turn followed by Mama's turn. But then some days she doesn't want Mama to have a turn and then it turns traumatic. Jill got her to brush her teeth without incident one night while Elsie was in the bathtub. No fair. :)

Her language skills have taken off. She's creating sentences for situations she's never encountered before. The pages of a book were stuck together and Jill was trying to get them apart, and Elsie admonished, "Don't break it!" She's consistently saying "Yes Ma'am" to me. And she knows what is expected when we say she needs to apologize to Oscar. "I sorry, Oscar." Yup. She says Oscar now, instead of Ah-kur.

And the singing. OH, THE SINGING!! Mr. Bill, her old Sunday school teacher, burned us a copy of Steve Green's Hide 'em in Your Heart album (ca. 1990) and I pretty much have it on constantly in the car when the kids are in the car. She loves to sing along. It is the cutest thing to hear her little voice from the backseat.

And she loves to read. Here, with our favorite neighbor:

Here, with her doll:

I will get caught up soon. Promise.