Sunday, May 30, 2010

Orange Belt

It looks like we found her 'thing'! Grace started Taekwondo this year and loves it. -She doesn't jump up and down and talk about it non-stop. -She complains about getting ready to go. -But when we get there... she transforms to Ms. Grace.
  • She listens.
  • She participates.
  • She works hard.
  • She smiles.
  • She says, 'Yes sir' and 'Yes ma'am'.
  • She learns.

About every 2 1/2 months she has the opportunity to test for a new belt level. Her instructors 'get' Grace. They allow her to test with another student.

My favorite part of TKD is the positive teaching method. The young students not only learn from the instructors, but they learn from other classmates with higher belts. There are Tiny Tigers who aren't even in school yet and there are adults also...including a Grandma Black Belt.

There are many 'typical' students and then there are a few students, like Grace, who need special consideration. All students are treated with respect. All students are expected (and do) perform to a high level of control and with respect.

After going 2x's a week for over 5 months you would think that I would be saying they almost always use positive reinforcement strategies with their students ~ but I can't. No, they ALWAYS use positive comments. I have NEVER heard NO or THAT's not right.

I wish I could say the same thing about my teaching, but I can't ~ but two times a week I can see positive reinforcement work. And, trust me, I'm watching and I'm taking notes. Hopefully, I will learn by example and be able to apply the positive teaching approach in my own classroom and make my students feel as successful as they make Grace feel.

I am pleased to introduce Ms. Grace, my orange belt!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Taryn participated on the Sunridge Middle School track team this spring. In addition to her running events she tried a variety of field events including: the long jump, the high jump, and the javelin.

Here she is making her move on the final corner of the 800. She sucked up both of these girls and got 3rd place.

This is her posing with her javelin. I tried to take some action shots but it is hard to have a steady hand when you are giggling so much. - A 70 pound, noodle armed girl throwing a javelin is funny to watch.

Taryn ended up cutting the season short. Her second to last meet was scheduled to be in The Dalles. They would not get home until after 9 pm. It was the week before fair and she was having tests. On her third consecutive melt-down in a row that week, we convinced her she was spreading herself too thin. The last meet was the same day as weigh-in, so she stopped track 2 weeks early. It made those weeks a little less stressful and she was a lot more manageable.

I wonder why she thinks she can do more than she really can? Hmm... I'm still trying to figure out why I can't. I am hoping to help her learn to not over commit. Maybe we can practice together.

PLC Conference

Professional Learning Communities have been a goal for our staff for a few years now. I can honestly say I don't feel like 'goal' is the right term anymore. We are on our way. I now consider PLC's a work in progress in our building.

Curt, my principal:

Ken, second grade teacher, and extraordinary trouble maker:

Diana, my brilliant teaching partner:

And myself:

went to Porland to attend a conference on PLC's. The first night there we went to The Kennedy School for dinner.

The burgers, beer and tater tots were delicious.

At the conference we learned a lot. (Including how NOT to open soda during presentations.) Now we all feel ready to get a fast start on our work in progress next year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Communion

Reagan 2010

Grace 2009

Taryn 2006

All three of my beautiful daughters have now received their First Communion. I bought a dress for Taryn 5 years ago, thinking at the time, it would be the first of 3 dresses I would buy. It worked out that all my girls were able to wear it. I loved that. I am a ~touch~ sentimental. The pictures of all three girls in the same dress melts my heart.

I'm counting my blessings now, as I'm guessing, that won't fly when it comes to the wedding gown(s).

PS- I know I was overzealous with a post a day... I've already posted more this month than the entire year. Summer will get me caught up, right?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pendleton Easter

For the three of us at home Easter was a bit more traditional.

We had a sleepover at the Nelson's so we could enjoy an early morning egg hunt. Yes, those are our winter coats. There wasn't snow on the ground, but it fell in the mountains that night and it was FREEZING. That was another point to our sleepover. Our heat pump went out and the cold weather wasn't finished. We were snug as bugs in their wonderful house.

Then the girls had to get dressed and pose for our annual Easter pictures. Unfortunately, because of the very early Easter and crazy cold weather, there were no flowers to provide a pretty setting. Again, the girls were sport, it was freezing.

Church services were beautiful as the Children's Choir sang from the balcony. We recently remodeled the church and added a high alter to restore the original look of the church. Eventually there will be a mural above the alter. I can't wait to see it finished.

It was a blustery afternoon, but the girls ran around looking for the elusive GOLDEN egg.

As a side note: the days before Easter I spent HOURS looking for eggs. Not the type of eggs you EVER want to be looking for... in your child's hair.

We were struck with head lice for the first time.

I found a bug while brushing Reagan's hair and upon a closer look found nearly 200 nits.

It took me 3 movies and an extraordinary amount of patience on both our parts to de-lice my little lady.

There are some experiences of elementary school I would be happy to live without experiencing. We were very thorough and avoided anyone else in the house getting them. I was also successful in getting them out in one go-around (a 10 day process). I now am left wondering, how long before I can scratch an itch on my head without worrying about head lice?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Easter in Willows

It was a different Easter this year. I was home with just Grace and Reagan. The weekend coincided with the annual Willow Weekend. You see, my dad & brother are cattle ranchers and they winter their cattle in Willows, California. Each spring my husband makes a huge sacrifice ( read: escapes work and daily duties) to make the trip south. This year we decided Taryn was old enough to make the trip.

Her job was tail holding. Apparently it is a pretty important job. If you don't have a tail holder and you are working on the south end of a cow, you end up covered in $#!+ by the end of the day.

After a long hard day working she was able to experience a new level of testosterone. Growing up with only sisters she isn't used to the 'one-up-ing' that can occur when a bunch of men (read:boys) gather. As if that wasn't enough of an experience, they told her she had to be initiated. The rite involved Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Step One: Question your desire...

Step two: Inspect

Step Three: ABORT!

That's my girl!

Taryn was hoping to bring one of these home to fill her Easter basket.

And Grandpa was trying his hardest to send this home to fill her basket, but turns out dad was blessed with a bummer girl this time. With no option of a 4H project - I respectfully declined the gift.

She is hoping to be able to make the trip again next year.

Marc had her document the actual work that they do, as I've heard more stories about the 'after-party'. I know they work really hard, and I know my dad and brother need and appreciate the help. However, I'm not sure if they realize how much he enjoys that weekend in Willows. I'm pretty sure he'd pay to be able to go!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Click, Clack, Moo....

For Christmas my parents bought us tickets to the Children's Theater in Portland, Oregon. So in February, over a long weekend, we went and saw Click, Clack, Moo, a story of barnyard antics while the farmer is away on vacation. It was a musical and delighted all the girls. (I'm pretty sure Marc fell asleep somewhere in the middle, but he said he thought it was 'nice'.)

In the theater there was a huge chair and all the girls wanted their pictures taken in the big seat.

Taryn 12.5

Grace 9.5

Reagan 8.0

The actors all came out to the lobby to sign autographs after the show, but there were too many eager fans pushing and shoving their way to the front I needed to step aside before I started talking about how rude it is to cut in front of people. The lecture is always very fresh in my mind, as I present it about 4 times a week to my first graders. I'm guessing that the pushy adults would not have appreciated the 'lesson'.

We settled for a picture with the cardboard cow. Each of the girls had favorite farm animals. It was funny because if I was casting my girls for parts, each would have ended up playing their favorite animal. Something about the characters 'spoke' to my girls and 'fit' their unique personalities.

Taryn liked the cow who was a bit of a goody-two-shoes. The cow was cautious, but still ended up getting into trouble with the rest of the animals. Grace liked the duck who was all about having a good time and was usually the instigator in all the troubles. Reagan loved the prissy chicken. She danced and giggled and stole the spotlight more than once.

Being bitten by the theater bug we already have our tickets for our next show. - We've stepped it up a notch from the $15 Children's Theater matinee tickets however. Next up?

This will be a night to remember I am sure. I can't wait. We bit the bullet and bought orchestra seats. Spendy, but I know it is going to be worth it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy 40.1

2010 will ring in the big 4-0 to many of my closest friends. In February, Marc and I took a quick trip to Medford to surprise Dianna for her 40th birthday party.

Her husband Greg went over the top in planning the party. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a complete surprise, but I don't think she ever guessed that I would be driving 8 hours to spend the weekend with her.

We had our nails done, went shopping, and talked endlessly. It is remarkable that we can go months without seeing each other or talking at all and pick up like it was yesterday.

The Jello shots were nasty - but we each put one away for old-times sake.

Mr. Party Planner himself was the first to hit-the-hay... but he had worked hard, so we didn't torture him too much about it.

I hope they get to head up our way in June to watch me roll into the next decade!

A post a day?

When you get behind it seems really impossible to ever catch up. But while I have been gone a few (million) wonderful events have passed. I am going to try a post or two a day so I can get caught up before summer. You can only imagine how far behind I am in printing real pictures... only around 7,ooo or so.