Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Rose Colored Glasses.....

Well, THAT dark mood is gone (see previous post)....thank goodness.

Today I enjoyed a much more constructive mood, the kind of positivity that makes some folks wretch. I mean, I sometimes get flack for being TOO optimistic. Once, years ago, a woman I worked with actually glared at me one afternoon, then cursed at me for greeting her warmly as she returned from her lunch break. "I should only have to say hello nicely to you once a day! No need for all this smiling. What are you so happy about anyway??!!"

An IA I worked with a few years ago, an avowed morning hater, often snarled at me as I prepared for the day WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE!!

I can't help it. The prospect of meeting each of my kiddies every morning makes me happy. I have the gift of a "short memory", so I never really hold a grudge or swim around in my worry. Every day is another opportunity for a miracle.

Sometimes, that miracle is just making it through the day. And I'm okay with that.

But today, as four of us were leaving the building at day's end, we nearly growled our goodbyes at each other. That's what being emotionally depleted and physically exhausted will do to you.

Thank goodness we had 15 hours to get refreshed and ready for our next happy day together.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

If only I could say.....

It's true: being the teacher of emotionally disabled children isn't all fun and games. Crises and chaos are always on the horizon. The high intensity work environment weighs hard on one's heart.Consequently, it takes special effort to keep from getting depressed or burnt out. As I've mentioned previously, I meditate some, pray alot, laugh about as much as possible with my commrades-in arm, and do things like write this blog. But sometimes, the dark clouds descend.

When I feel blue, I like to imagine what I'd say or do... if I weren't so professional, loving, and ultimately optimistic!! In fact, it would feel pretty darn good to say this stuff out loud:

"I wish someone would give you a good bubble bath, and get behind your ears and under your nails."

"I sometimes worry you'll grow up and come back to this school and slash my tires.... or worse."

"I worry your parents might do the same."

"At some point in your future, you'll pull up a memory of me, your first "big school" teacher; I only hope it's not while you are languishing in a jail cell. "

"I wish I could tell your abusive parents what I really think of them."

"I am saddened and appalled at how little my guidance and love has had on changing your day to day life."

Luckily the dark clouds are temporary, washed away most often by a child's hug or smile. There is no need to dwell on my worries. But it sure feels good to put them out there, to make real the honest emotions created when my day to day life is so doggedly rough and tumble.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Let's figure it out..... AND Thank you!!

Our challenge is to meet every kid's needs. It's a puzzle, of course, an often overwhelming task that has serious and long term consequences.

Today, our staff will be meeting in grade level teams to figure out one key to one part of the puzzle..... how are we going to support those kids who are not reading on grade level? How will we get them where they need to be?

We'll be analyzing some data about DRA testing done at the end of last year. We'll be sorting out those kids who are in need of remediation. We'll be ascertaining where our instruction has been weak and needs tweaking. We'll be concentrating on making changes that impact kids' learning tomorrow, and the rest of this year.

I hate a useless meeting, but I'm thinking that this one will provide me with information and guidance that will improve my instruction. I hope so, at least.

I'll keep you posted.

Until then, enjoy this photo from Virginia Tech's ThanK the World event held this weekend on the drillfield in Blacksburg. My family and I participated, and it was a heartfelt expression of our gratitude to all who prayed for and supported us during the April shootings and beyond.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A note of appreciation!

Tomorrow we lead teachers are throwing a little breakfast for our fabulous instructional assistants. Bagels, donuts, juice, etc..... not elegant, but we hope it says what we mean: we are so lucky to have you as our teaching partners.

Instructional assistants work really, really hard in our special program. They teach groups of children, implement (and help create) complicated behavior management systems, provide therapeutic support to kids in crisis.... It's a lot more than running copies and cutting out art project templates.

So here's to our IAs. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to our kids! Thank you for being so dedicated and hard working!!!

Thank you for being you!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Okay, so I've been remiss..... again

I guess it's normal to go through periods of neglecting one's bloglife. Still, I hate seeing that September was the last time I gave this my attention. So let me refocus my goals and set to work on this, my next new beginning...

I continue to struggle with creating a behavior plan to support one of my favorite darlings. As a team, we decided some visual cueing was in order, so I did that. We're concentrating even more on preventative strategies, and consistent consequences, etc. I'm working hard to keep our relationship "trustworthy", that is, a relationship where he really comes to believe that I mean what I say and say what I mean.

The daily tumult continues. Sometimes this is a very tiring job.

Thank goodness I really really like this child!! It does help that I care for him and his family, and I believe they are trying too. Their effort counts for alot when I have to get up everyday and try to sort out the best way(s) to support a child in so much turmoil.

This week we will continue to tweak and revamp in hopes that we find just the right equation. No time for complaining or backpeddling or throwing up our arms in frustration. We will get this right.... if not this week, then eventually. And if not eventually, we'll find a setting more suitable, more effective for this child.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cruising through the last two weeks.....

As I strongly suspected, I finally got myself and my classroom together. The kids are settling in, and the new IA is a lovely young woman with good instincts and a kind heart. My to-do list is usually not too long, and I am finding the time I need to do what needs to be done.

With only 4 kids so far (the fifth one never showed), we are teaching up a storm and the kids are eating it up. What a joy to plan for and teach kids who enjoy books and math and games and singing....

It's the sharing and the writing and the taking turns that freaks them out. It's keeping an even keel when every fiber of their being wants to scream and stomp and curse and lash out.

That's happening too, the lashing out, but we are managing with some grace and dignity.

So far, so good.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How will I ever catch up?

Boxes yet to unpack... files to refresh..... supplies to label and store....

Oh, and make sure each day is tantalizingly planned for....

This is my challenge. At 3:20 when the busses pull away, I am happily exhausted, and intend, with every last bit of energy, to catch-up.

I start with my lessons, because they deserve my best attention. By 4:45, I can't muster the wherewithall to do anything more, so things go undone. Until I get back here tomorrow morning at 7am and start all over.

Experience tells me it all will eventually get done. The little naggy voice inside of me complains about laziness and disorganization. I shrug, and choose to head home for my pre-dinner nap.

Sweet dreams.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year....

I love this feeling. It's a mix of joyful anticipation and thoughtful resolve that I will do all I can to make this the best year ever. Unlike the silly feeling in my stomach that comes the night before Christmas, this excitement is both tempered and enhanced by the idea that I am in control of much of what will come my way.

I get to choose my reaction to every little bump in the road.

I get to ask for help when I need it, and help others when they need it.

I get to play with new ideas, continue what I know works, and keep on trying to learn more about being the most effective teacher I can be.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful job with wonderful people.

I'm a teacher, and I love it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Too much....

We attended the Memorial Dedication Service at VaTech this afternoon. The weekend had been wonderful to that point, what with moving our Hokie Girl into her new apartment and helping her get settled for a new year. Thoughts of Reema and Erin were strong, and I asked to go by their old rooms in the dorm to pay my silent respects. Luckily, no current dorm residents were around, so we could pray a moment at each door, both grateful for their love and hopeful for the healing their families' still need to find.

The ceremony itself was just fine. The weight of sadness felt familiar, as did communal experience, the understanding that we were in this together.

Again, we were reminded that those lost left much undone, but had lived extraordinary lives nonetheless. We were called to continued service in their names.

And now comes word that another of my daughter's school friends is one of Tech kids' sickened by carbon monoxide in their apartment. She is on a respirator, we hear, receiving the best care available. We are praying for her and her family and all those affected by this useless tragedy.

This feels like too much.

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's starting... and it feels so good....

I've been into school twice over the last week to participate in staff interviews. When I walked in the door I was bowled over by the smells and sights of being back, and it was a very good feeling. This bodes well for the new year. At some point, some year, I guess I'll approach September with less enthusiasm and more dread. Then I'll know it's time to stop.

For now, I look forward to the kids' arrival and the close work ahead with my friends and colleagues.

For now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

On being a worthy model.....

It's a staple of good parenting, and of good teaching.... Be sure and model the behavior you want your kids to demonstrate.

So when teachers use sarcasm and bullying tactics to get their message across, how can we be surprised when these same kids are disrespectful and detached?

When we teachers seem bored with our lessons, when we lack passion and deep understanding of our discipline, how can we be surprised when our students' approach to learning is joyless?

It's a fundamental truth in my classroom: as I implore my students to work hard to stay in control - to choose more appropriate ways to handle their anger - I have to be vigilant as I deal with my own frustrations in the classroom. No yelling. No physical outbursts, no banging on a desk or slamming a door. No threatening. No blaming others.

It's no wonder I go home somedays and feel completely exhausted. Keeping my emotions in check when so much around me is chaotic is draining. Sometimes, at the end of the day, my voice is raspy and strained; not from raising my voice, but from working so hard to control it.

But it's much easier to sleep at night when I've been true to my goals. When I slip and get testy, I can forgive myself, but only if I promise to try harder. The kids deserve it, of course. And no matter how righteous it sounds, it is satifying to do what is good for kids.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We are Hokies....

Grief and worry has kept me away from this blog.

As the desperate nature of the shock has transformed into a dull ache, I have had no time or patience for doing anything more than what's necessary to get me and my daughter and family through.

We can pretend for parts of each day that everything is back to normal. I am blessed with the kind of job that keeps my mind busy, too busy to light on the thought of beautiful Reema. The pain in her mother's eyes. The pitiful sound my daughter makes as she calls out from her restless sleep. The picture of Erin on the cover of her funeral bulletin. The senseless loss of each of the 33.

If left unchecked, my mind drifts to memories of Reema and my girl flitting across the soccer fields and the dance floor, two scrawny little girls, waif like, but powerful in the way well-loved kids can be.

So I am checking out for awhile longer. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Even in our grief, we have to find some laughter....

A true story told to me by my dear friend, a WVU mom, about her grandson, also a rabid Mountaineer supporter:

A 13 year old middle schooler had been closely watching the news about Virginia Tech. The first time he met up with his grandmother after the shootings, he was noticeably concerned and thoughtful. After they agreed it was a terrible tragedy, the boy looked squarely in his grandma's eyes and made a solemn promise:

"I tell you what, Grandma, I'll never flick off a Hokie again!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Prayers to our university community...

Some of you might remember my daughter is a Hokie. She is safe, thank God, but the pain and terror remains. One friend is dead and another struggles for life.

The Hokie Nation is gasping in horror and clinging tightly to each other. This poem was posted on a VaTech sports website by a UVA grad. We stand together in the wake of senseless violence.

Wind sweeps through the mountains,
Wiping away the innocence,
Tears stream like rivers,
Oh what senseless violence!

A nations heart is broken,
Youthful lifes hardly begun,
So many yet to have spread their wings,
So early to have stopped their run.

An act of utter cowardice,
A sensless attempt to hurt,
So many lives this has affected,
Optimism and hope left inert.

Today we are all Hokies,
No matter where we are from,
Though on the field we may be enemies,
Today we hold Virginia as our Home.

God Bless.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thanks for the "birthday" wishes...

At EBDBLOG, one of the sites I check daily, they have noted my second year anniversary as a blogger.

Feels like it was just yesterday when I impulsively pushed the Blogger button and began to figure out how the blog thingee worked. I always knew I had something to say, it was just a matter of deciding that THIS was the right forum. Even as I get distracted and blog a bit inconsistently, I always come back.

As ever,thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, March 19, 2007

And now, for your protection.....

Our school is scheduled for a LOCK DOWN drill this week, an activity whereby we two teachers lock our classroom door, turn off the lights, whisk our class of highly reactive, emotionally impaired six year olds to a corner of our room where we are meant to sit in absolute silence for 10 to 15 minutes... and if we don't, a team of security specialists acting as school intruders will detect our whereabouts....

It's a nightmare.

Our administrators have worked hard to get the security folks to understand the sensitive nature of our ED kids and the many other special needs kids in our building.

I'm told they agree not to bang loudly on our doors to provoke the kids into breaking the rules and screaming.

I can't wait til this is over....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Begging for attention and anything else that's needed..

This lazy Saturday morning, my sweet dog, Cayenne, is repeatedly bumping her nose into my hand, asking for.. no demanding.. what it is she needs. She won't give up until I pet her head and rub her belly.

You have to respect this kind of unabashed neediness. If we all were as honest about what would make us happy, the world would be a less complicated place, that's for sure.

I'm thinking about my students' behaviors over the years, and how tough it's been to wade through all the distractors to get to the real issue: "How will you meet my needs, Mrs. Ris?"

For many of my kids, it's a matter of providing immediate basic needs. Here's a juice box and breakfast bar to get you through the morning. You were up late because of your family's partying and fighting? Take a little nap in the bean bag and I'll catch you up on your lessons later. Need a clean t-shirt? Let's check the extra clothes bag.

Sometimes we can't even begin to give kids what they crave. In a six hour day I can't hug a kid enough to make a difference... although we all try. We can't makeup for a home life of humiliation and threats. And when a child's brain chemistry is off, all we can do is be as structured and consistent as possible, and pray the meds will work.

We plan our lessons with attention and detail; we overplan and, as necessary, change up our plans on the fly to meet new roadblocks. It's complicated and draining to be so focused on doing what is right.

So this morning, when Cayenne looks so lovingly my way and keeps nuzzling my hand, I'll thank goodness for her uncomplicated, honest "begging". It feels good to satisfy her needs so easily.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hard work...

His is learned helplessness of the most debilitating kind...

He hims and haws, shakes his head, throws over his chair, and pleads loudly.

"I can't do it! I don't know it. I can't!"

If you just came upon us as I worked with him on his phonics lesson, you'd think I was a real witch of a teacher. I ignore his tears, demand more of him, make him start over when he balks.

I question myself as I push, push, push. I feel so evil. I want to hold him in my lap and assure him that everything is okay. Gently wipe away his tears. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.

Somehow, I keep pushing. I can feel it deep down that this is the right thing to do after all these months of carefully moving him down the path to learning.

Do it again, Mike.
Try it again.
No, start over.
Look again.

He takes a bathroom break, and so do I. As I walk out into the hall, another teacher and her student are reading together. The teacher, new to our school, looks at me differently. I feel judged.

Mike takes his seat again. I put the word and sound cards out again. He starts, fumbles just a bit, then starts again. He does it.

I am too exhausted to rejoice. For now, we smile at each other, and breathe.


Tuesday morning, I put Mike's phonics cards out for him to do. He said something alittle whiney, then sighed and instantly put them in order. Task done. Lesson learned. For both of us.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bring em on!

6 days off-- thanks to the ice and snow storm-- and I feel rested, rejuevenated, and ready for tomorrow.

I am really looking forward to seeing my kiddos, and I am excited about getting back to my lessons. Really excited!

I think this is anectdotal evidence that I would do well on a year round schedule where periodic breaks come in small doses throughout the year.

Until tomorrow.....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Update: The Kindergarten Lincolnphiles

According to kinder teacher Kathy, her students seemed to "know" alot about Honest Abe even before they started the unit. With a smile on her face and a light in her heart she reports:

- "Lincoln was George Washington's brother.
- He saw slaves and had a dream. (Do we get credit for making a connection?)
- He died when he went to the movies."

Again, these are the moments that keep us coming back, right?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Father Abraham"

I use discussion of Abraham Lincoln's life as a springboard for comparing the past with the present. It's almost a universal truth these last 18 like learning about our 16th president. His story resonates with kids, rich and poor, black and white, tall and short,etc. His likeable geekiness shines through all of the children's biographies I read to my classes. In one activity today, we compared elements of Abe's life with our own, including the famous one room log house, his non-traditional family (stepmother and stepsiblings), his tendency to sneak away from his chores to read, and the hard, physical labor he did to help his family (chop down trees, plow the fields, etc.).

When they see his likeness on the penny and the five dollar bill, they really understand his historical importance!! A few years ago, one of my boys said "What money has George Bush on it? THAT'S how you know he's a big deal."

Attention, Karl Rove....

Lastly, one of my big hearted boys today swore that if he lived in Lincoln's time, he would have been a bodyguard to protect Abe from the bad guy.

You have to love 'em.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Parent Connection.....

It's inevitable; "teacher talk" will turn to parent responsibility and participation, and how too much or too little affects the quality of our teaching lives. Studies reveal the value of positive parental participation, especially with regard to student achievement. However, we all know that when parents come to us with distrust and a dislike for school as an institution, our communications are generally unpleasant. Such unpleasantness can be burdonsome.... and goodness knows we teachers don't need anything to make our job harder.

So with this in mind, I share the following:

1. I invite parents to class and school functions with genuine hopefulness and an open heart.

2. I send reminders because I know it’s so easy to forget. I’m a parent, too, so I know how kooky schedules can be.

3. I phone, leave messages, email and otherwise keep open the lines of communication.

4. I try not to call only for the negative stuff.

5. I do not hold my breath when parents are meant to call back, send papers back, email back or otherwise respond to communication from the school.

6. I never hold kids accountable for their parents lack of participation in school functions. I try, as much as possible, never to say anything about their folks not participating. This can be a very humiliating thing for kids. They know when their parents can’t or won’t make connections with school. No need to give the kids a reason to build defensiveness. After all, the real relationship that needs to be maintained is that between me and the child.

Not only does this save face with the child, it saves time, AND prevents a lot of hand wringing and useless declarations about the sad state of parenthood in this country!

Over the years, I have learned the importance of focusing on what it is I CAN control. I control my decision to continue to keep open the door to my kids’ parents. I hope for the best, but prepare for non-participation. That’s my reality, and to accept it leaves me the energy to really work with my students. Them, I have for 6 hours a day. I choose to concentrate on that.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Point of No Return

At about 10:00 this morning, on a day when 3 of my bi-polar students are cycling, when the little boy who has been such a terrible challenge these last months is banging doors and tearing up the timer and throwing legos at the windows, at this very point in time, the crisis counselor leaves for a meeting.

The crisis room is closed. For a full hour in our day, that critical support is unavailable.

Thus began a succession of mini tantrums escalating to large-scale crises, and we are a full staff member short, and even if we were fully staffed at that moment, it wouldn't have been enough, because these kids are in a spiral, feeding off each other, and their insatiable need for stimulation and attention goes unchecked and untethered.

To be fair, the purpose of the meeting was very important and child-oriented. Clearly, the folks involved needed to meet.

My gripe is the decision to make convenient their meeting time at the expense of what the other children and staff need.

Striking the kind of balance needed in the management of a school like ours is very, very difficult.

And today was way more difficult than it had to be. For me, my intern, and our kids.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

That's Entertainment

Poor little guy.

Without his ADHD meds, he was absolutely, unequivocally, unable to settle his brain on any single thought. He struggled to comply with routine directions; he genuinely apologized when redirected. He talked to himself and rolled across the floor and ate voraciously.

He giggled at his own jokes and growled at children who were bugging him.

Imagine having to concentrate on word families, number lines, or retelling strategies with so little control over your own thinking....

Today, we kept marveling at how cute he was. We shook our head and tried to imagine how this kid even got through a day in a full-sized, general ed classroom.

If he shows up tomorrow like this, ummm, it won't seem so cute.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The beginning of the end of a challenging era...

The meetings have been held, the options presented and discussed, and now it's in the works.

My biggest challenge, my kid in the eye of the storm, is going to be heading off to "contract services". His parents start visiting/interviewing privated schools next week.

I accept this change with a mix of emotions: some relief, yes.... a feeling of hope for this family who will probably get more support services once the change is made.... and a wave of sadness. Saying goodbye is going to be hard. He loves us, and loves our school. In the long run, a change is going to be very, very positive. In the here and now, we are in for some heartwrenching moments.

Whenever teaching is presented as a science, a skillset focusing on content area expertise, lesson development and effective assessment, I will always remember this little guy and the piece of my heart he took with him.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

To each his/her own.....

Next week the first grade teaching team will review together the most recent data from our state testing scores. We are charged with the mission to look carefully at "teaching" weaknesses with an eye toward improving our teaching practice to increase achievement.

Translation: use the information we have, as muddy as it is, to decide where we need to make changes.

This kind of collegial,achievement-oriented work always pumps me up. I look forward to our eagle-eye exploration of how we are teaching certain important objectives, and how we can do it better.

There is something about a group of caring, smart, talented teachers thoughtfully examining our kids' work and discussing how we can do better. In addition, we are reminded by our administrators to go back to info on research-based instructional strategies as we make our plans for improvement. I agree. It will be important to our success and the success of our students that we stick to proven methods, not just ideas that sound good.

It's going to be fun!
I know. I'm a geek.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The glass IS half full...

Today I looked past the snotty nose to the sweet smile.
I counted the times he followed through with a direction instead of how many times he yelled NO!
He clocked a kid, but it didn't leave a mark.
The morning went slowly, but my husband (SURPRISE!) stopped in at noon and made my day!

It's true, this looking on the bright side stuff has its benefits!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Making a positive change...

What's it mean when I pass my teaching colleagues in the hall and as our eyes meet, we seem to concurrently sigh, widen our eyes, and look stricken?

This seems to be happening more and more. It's only mid-January. How is it we're all so spent already? We had Monday off for God's sake.

My pledge... greet my colleagues with an air of positive expectation. I'll "ACT as if"... and the rest will come, right?

A Reasonable Compromise...

An update on the last post: The team of teachers, along with the reading teacher, decided to continue to provide extra reading support for the lowest scoring kids who are not receiving other services. In March or April, the focus will shift to those "Bubble Kids" who are just ready to bloom and need alittle extra push....

Seems like a reasonable solution to me. Bravo ladies.

Can I whine again about our desire to have the time and staffing to really provide the critical extra help for all the kids who need it?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We want to do the right thing.....

We meet as a first grade teaching team each Tuesday afternoon. I'm sitting here with 5 gen ed teachers, some of the most dedicated and delightful women I know. Mostly, I enjoy their collaborative attitude.

We discussed creating special reading groups to support kids who are really struggling. The question came up: should we focus this additonal help on kids who are very very low, who just aren't making it, BUT they have very little chance of improving enough to pass the state mandated testing.... OR... do we provide a boost to the kids "On The Bubble", those who, with this extra help, have a fair chance to improve and pass the tests. Not a comfortable question, but one that must be faced in this age of high stakes assessment.

We decided not to decide right now. Not a surprise, considering how it feels to make these decisions.

We really want to do the right thing.Too bad the MOST right thing is not an option considering staffing and time constraints are fixed.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tapped out....

It's two and a half hours after the official end of the work day, and I am hurrying to my car. The after school parent meeting went long, and I am leaving a good amount of work undone on my desk. I'll get in early tomorrow to catch up before the kids get in.

As I make my way through the maze of parked cars.....there are so many of them still here!.... I run into 5 fellow teachers. Two appear to be chit-chatting,(best to do that now;there is no time during the day), and the others are moving to their cars with distinct determination. Our area is known for its horrible traffic, and our late entry onto the beltway means certain frustration. Hurry, we are late for our homelife.

The circle of life continues....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year's Pledge....

When a child has the best day ever, when he or she sparkles and cooperates and is happy to do so..... that's the setting for a night of deep thinking, just as if it was the day from hell. What was different about the day? What did I do differently? What about home was different?


Because, I really want to replicate this day.

Was I more patient than usual? What I better at reinforcing the good things he was doing? Was I better at ignoring the little stuff? What about the accommodations and modifications on today's work made it more palatable? Did I smile more? Did I smile less?

And what if it's a medication issue? I have zero control over that. Or maybe the child got through breakfast at home without getting smacked around. Or the bully on the bus was absent.

What if...what if....what if....

We teachers often beat ourselves up trying to figure out how to best help our students. I know that sometimes I do, even though I'm very aware of how idiotic it is to lose sleep over these kinds of things. It's probably a by-product of our strong desire to do what's right for kids.

But I pledge today to shift my worrying and wondering to a more productive path. I will not obsess, just consider. I will not put myself down when things go wrong, but use my expertise, experience, and commitment to kids to strategically plan for doing things better the next time. I will not lose sleep, but pray for wisdom and patience, and leave it at that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year all!

The break has been fantastic, a truly great "family time". I count my blessings everyday.

I don't exactly look forward to the start of school tomorrow, but nor do I dread it. I feel confident we can get back into the routine that was working so well in December. I absolutely look forward to seeing the sweet faces of my little ones, and hope hope hope their holidays were good ones.

Until the next update.... here's to a 2007 full of joy!

ps.. here is one of our new xmas decorations for the front yard...a Hokie football player. We are privately mourning our bowl loss, but look forward to a new season next year!