Friday, June 22, 2007


I'm a member at Work It, Mom!, which is a community for working moms.

Today, I recevied the following email:

Once a week, starting today, we will post a question or a topic on this blog and invite all of you to write your reactions to it by submitting it as a short article or essay to Work It, Mom! (Yes, you have to join the site, which will take just a few seconds, and our online article submission form is extremely simple. Plus you will have an article published with your own byline, which - ask any blogger or author - is a good thing.) Then post the link to your submission on your personal blog or email it to your friends and ask them to vote for your essay. The author of the essay on the weekly topic with the highest rating based on the highest number of votes will win a $50 gift certificate from!

This week's question: If money was no issue, would you work and what would you do?

To read my essay, click the "Read More" below, and then go vote here. Thanks!

A Girl Could Get Used to This

I’m a self-professed nerd. I don’t wear a pocket protector, or have tape across the bridge of my glasses. Reading isn’t really a hobby; it’s more of a necessity. I read pretty much anything and everything, from the back of the shampoo bottle to Gray’s Anatomy.

I’m a perpetual student. Not in the classic sense – I don’t attend classes. However, there’s a special satisfaction that wells up inside me after I’ve learned something; I love to learn for the sake of knowledge. This is why I read.

I believe that my love of learning is what makes me a good teacher. I teach high school science – physical science, biology, environmental science, and chemistry. My deepest desire for my students is for them to relish that feeling of success that comes from learning something, to become so addicted to it that they constantly strive to better themselves, that they never become complacent. Even deeper than that, though, is my desire for them to apply that fervor to their relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ, to constantly strive to become more like Him.

I live for those “Aha!” moments in my classroom, that defining moment when I can see the light bulb switching on above their head, and their eyes light up with understanding. Sometimes that’s a direct result of something I’ve said or done, but my very favorite times are when they’ve sweated through a problem or misunderstanding for as long as it takes to GET it. Then they look up with pride in their eyes, and the surge of adrenaline that accompanies the “I did it!” makes them want to do more. I celebrate those moments with them; I shout and clap and dance and sing for them, but sometimes only on the inside, depending on the personality and motivation of the student.

I’ve taught for seven years and never taken a summer “off”. I’ve taught summer school or worked. In the summer of 2004, I had our son, but I was so sick afterward that I don’t really count that summer as “off”. Even after he was born, I worked or took classes during the summers.

Until now. This year, I remembered that one of the reasons I wanted to teach is that I would have time off with our children. This year, I had my own “Aha!” moment. We have a son now, and that time that I always dreamed about is here. I get to have time off with our son.

I’ll admit that I wondered how I could compete with his playschool in terms of friends to play with and activities to do. Could I really keep him happy at home? I had no intention of finding a zillion things to do in order to fill every second of every day. After all, that wouldn’t make much of a vacation for me. My life is scheduled to the minute every single day during the school year. There was no way I’d do that to myself during the summer, too.

So… I’ve slept in until 6:45 or 7:00 every morning instead of getting up at 5:00 and leaving before the rest of my family is even awake. I’ve made breakfast for my husband every morning and packed his lunch. I’ve gotten early morning cuddles from my son, those sweet, sleepy, heavy, warm cuddles, just after he wakes up, every morning. I’ve colored pictures, rolled play-doh, put together puzzles, blown bubbles, watched movies, swam in the pool, and read books by the dozen. I’ve planned menus, purposefully gone to the grocery store, hunting down the best bargains, instead of dashing through grabbing something quick to eat, and cooked dinner most nights. I’ve caught up on laundry and thoroughly cleaned the house. I’ve not been too exhausted at the end of the day to spend quality time with my husband. I’ve not felt guilty for not doing laundry on Saturdays when family is here.

I’ve also realized that those same “Aha!” moments I’ve cherished with my students are ten million times more powerful when I experience them with my son. I refuse to feel guilty about it, but I wonder how many of those moments I’ve missed because he had them at playschool. I know I’ll never be around for all of his light bulb moments, but I’ve really enjoyed experiencing more of them this summer.

I’ve realized that those same desires I have for my students – to succeed, to take pride in their work, to strive for greatness – run ten million times deeper in my heart when they’re passionate desires for my son. I want to be around more to help ingrain those characteristics in him.

This summer has been like a hit of a new drug, and I’m addicted. My catch phrase has been “A girl could get used to this.” I tell that to my husband every morning when we’re eating breakfast together. We do have plans for me to stay home when we have our second baby, hopefully next summer, but it almost can’t come fast enough.

As passionate as I am about my teaching, I’d give up my classroom in a heartbeat. I like to think of staying home as just getting a new teaching job. One at which I feel slightly unprepared, but still fully capable. I’ll learn as I go, just like my first year in the classroom.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

To my sweet son

Three years ago today, our lives were changed forever when you arrived.

It seems like this should be a long, loving, detailed entry about how wonderful you are and how enriched our lives are since you've been a part of them.

The truth is, I'm just speechless. You are the reason I have a slight taste of what God must have experienced when He sent Jesus to earth.

There truly aren't words to describe the depth of our love for you, or our unending gratitude to God for giving you to us. So, we'll do our best to show you for the rest of our lives.

I love you, little one. My prayer is for you to someday be excited to follow God and discover His plans and rewards for you.

Happy, happy third birthday, sweetie.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Remember the post I wrote about Planning for Jet's Birthday this week? I found an ABC article that illustrates perfectly the outrageous lengths people will go to in order to "celebrate" their child's birthday. I wonder how many of the people in that article can really afford those types of things, and how many are plunging themselves deeper into debt in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, as if the Joneses really care.

This makes me think of the date that Knight and I had this past weekend. I won a trivia contest on the radio a month or so ago, and the prize was lunch for two at Sullivan's Steakhouse, a ritzy place in downtown Austin. Since we live and work 30+ minutes away from said ritzy steakhouse, there was no way we could make it for lunch. I contacted the restaurant manager and he said he would give us credit for dinner.

We dropped off Jet at his Aunt Duh-Ahnna's (that's how he says it) house on Saturday night and headed out. We love to try new things together, espcially restaurants, so we were pretty excited. Knight, in particular, was looking forward to it because they have steaks.

We ended up late for our reservations because there was a bike race downtown, the path of which circled our restaurant, effectively blocking all vehicular access. We parked a couple of blocks away and walked, yielding for hordes of speeding bicyclists. Thank heavens for traffic directors. I had visions of trying to cross the street and getting run over, limbs and wheels and chains tangling... I was sure I would lose any battle between me and these Lance-wannabes.

Anyway, the moral of this story is coming up, I promise. As we were relishing cajun ribeye and crab-stuffed shrimp in a place where the cheapest entree is $30, I looked around to see who else was there with us. I wondered aloud to Knight about the financial status of everyone else. Who could afford it? Who couldn't? I've always harbored a bit of envy for people who had real money -- those who truly could afford to eat like this every weekend and not worry about what it was doing to their monthly budget.

There were a few families who had brought along their children (and this was not a place I would consider child-friendly). There were groups of college-age students, dressed to the nines. There were groups of older folks, dressed in business-casual. There were other couples like us, seemingly on a date.

We figured that the families with children were the ones who could really afford it. Someday, we'll be in that place, too. For now, we're working our way toward it by only going to places like that when we have gift certificates, instead of charging it on a credit card.

I just don't know if I'll ever be in a place where I don't automatically consider the budget when deciding whether or not to eat out. I don't think I'll ever spend $30,000 on a birthday party for a toddler. Maybe that's a good thing.


Rain, rain, go away

Doesn't the rain know that we have swim lessons this week? It could have at least waited until Friday. (We only have swim lessons Monday-Thursday.) It's supposed to rain tomorrow, too. I wonder if we get make-up days? I know they can't control the weather, but it bugs me that I paid for eight days of swim lessons, but might end up only getting six. I couldn't find any info on their website about it.

Other things, namely Jet's underwears, have been mostly dry all morning, except for the time that I sent him to the bathroom and realized I had to go, too. I went to the other bathroom and took care of things as quickly as possible. When I came around the corner to check on him, I arrived just in time to see him dunking his underwear up and down in the potty.

I was rendered momentarily speechless, with the thought of "Why on earth would anyone...???" running through my head. I quickly regained control before he could actually flush them.

In a flash of insanity, I questioned Jet about his antics.

Me: "Jet! What are you doing?"

Jet: ...??? *dunk, dunk, splash*

Me: "Well, stop it!"

Jet: *grin*, *dunk, dunk, splash* "Look what I could do!"

Fortunately, he hadn't done a Big Job, but may have tinkled in the potty. I couldn't tell.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Jet is doing, well, swimmingly (go ahead and groan, it's ok) in his swim class. For a kid who was terrified of water, he warmed up to it quickly.

On Monday, the first day, we arrived about 10 minutes early, and his teacher was with another class. The lifeguard said we could go try the kiddie pool. Jet wasn't too keen on it, what with about 8 other kids in it, splashing their little hearts out. He wanted to go to the "big boy pool", which surprised me.

We visited a little with kids and parents that were also there for our class. He is the oldest, by quite a bit. Most of them are in the 18-24 month range, and some of those seem to be born for the water!

When we first walked down the steps into the pool, Jet clung to me. As the teacher talked, he began to relax, and quit digging his nails into me each time I pretended to think about moving deeper into the water.

The point of that first class was just to get the kids used to being in the pool. Miss Anjie even had a bag of toys for them to play with. Jet was really excited about that -- he could hardly wait for Miss Anjie to stop talking so he could get to the toys. He ended up selecting a pink ring that was handy for throwing.

By the end of the class, we had a system down. He would throw the ring as far as he could, and then I would ask him to blow bubbles three times. Then he had to float on his tummy and kick his legs as we walked around looking for the ring (it sank to the bottom of the pool). I would scoop the ring toward the top with my foot, and he would reach down to grab it.

It was quite a transformation -- from screaming, "I wanna go HOME!" at about 10:30 a.m., to screaming, "I don't WANNA get out!!!" at 11:15.

Today, he was a little tense as we waded into the water, but quickly began asking about the ring. We added a new step to the routine because he wanted to climb the ladder at the side of the pool. So, he would throw the ring from the side of the pool, jump into my arms, blow bubbles three times, float on his tummy, and kick as we went looking for the ring. Then he'd kick back over to the ladder and do it all over again. Three hundred times.

I'm just so proud of him!!!

Bonus: two-and-a-half-hour naps both days. Yay!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

Have you seen these? They're incredible. You have to watch them all the way through.

First, there's the completely adorable 6-year-old Connie singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It brings tears to my eyes to hear her, and you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. Listen to Simon at the end -- he really is human!

Then Paul Potts,a car phone salesman, blows away the judges with his opera singing. I don't know for sure, but from some of the comments I saw on YouTube, I think he may have won the whole competition.

There's also Craig and his baton twirling. His story is sad to me, because he hid his dream from his parents. At the end, one of the judges asks him how it makes him feel, and his reply is that when he's doing his baton twirling, he sort of shuts off the rest of the world. He says that he loves what he does. There's one really good close up of his face in the middle of his performance, and you can really see that he's loving it. Watch for it.

I just thought these were so cool -- I wanted to share!