Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

 Showmanship with Buff

 First show on Buff

 Victoria showing off her Easter eggs

 Caitlyn showing off her Pez candy dispenser

 Victoria showing off her silly faces

 A good looking crew, if I do say so myself

After years of dressing the girls in matching attire for Easter, I gave up so as not to scar them for life. 
Imagine my surprise when they decided to buy the same dress and match for Easter this year. 
Aren't they just adorable?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lessons from British Literature

That title might be a little deceptive.  No, I'm not going expound on the subtle nuances between Jane Austen's early works vs. her later novels, and I'll let you decide what makes Frankenstein a quintessential work of Gothic fiction.  While those might (or might not) have been discussed in the British Literature co-op class that I taught this year, and I HOPE the students learned SOMETHING these last two semesters; the lessons I gleaned  might be more fascinating than anything Lord Byron ever penned.

1.  When a class meets only once/week and the kids don't already know each other, it takes about a semester for everyone to start feeling at ease with each other.  Once they settle in and are comfortable, they can really talk and play pranks on one another.  You might want to check the stability of your chair before you sit in it.

2.  Even kids who have never been to school have the ability to entice the teacher down rabbit trails.  Enough said.

3.  Just because they moan and groan about having to read a particular book doesn't necessarily mean they don't have strong opinions about the book or the author.

4.  Just because they moan and groan about having to read a particular book doesn't necessarily mean they are missing the beauty of the literature.  Yes, you would have thought making these boys read Persuasion or a work of Shakespeare was something akin to waterboarding; but once the discussions started, they were quick to read the class their favorite lines and animatedly describe their favorite characters.

5.  Despite my love for Jane Austen, none of my class will probably ever read another Austen novel.  Somehow, that makes me sad.  They loved the characters, but being a class of mostly boys, they kept waiting for a sword fight or an accident more tragic than a twisted ankle, a high fever, or a silly girl jumping off a step.

6.  Instructed to select a novel to read from a particular list, students WILL NOT always pick the shortest.  Okay, some kids will (and his last name is strangely similar to mine), but many don't.  I think one brave soul even started Middlemarch

7.  I can never guess how students will react to certain authors or works of literature.  I mean, who would have thought that the student mentioned in #6, the one who selected to read Heart of Darkness and The Time Machine (due to their short page counts) would spend free time reading poetry by William Blake.  Seriously, who knew?  *I* have never spend free time reading William Blake. And that same student claims his favorite work in the cannon of British Literature is Pilgrim's Progress.  Do you have any idea how happy that makes my heart?

8.  Everyone is strangely and pleasantly surprised by Frankenstein.  Possibly the class's favorite book of the year.

9.  Austen is a let down after the suspense and intensity of Frankenstein.  If I ever teach Brit Lit again, I think I should put some distance between those two works, particularly for boys or younger students. The wit and keen mental insight of Jane Austen is somewhat lost on students still engrossed in murders and monsters.

10.  While relieved to drop one ball from my proverbial juggling act, I'm going to miss seeing these kids every Wednesday morning.  They have been a delight to get to know and teach. 

Oh...and one more...a teacher bringing Dunkin Donuts offsets the ire induced by giving difficult tests or too much homework.  Really, a Boston cream or jelly roll greatly increases affection.  The way to a student's heart (especially a class full of boys) is through their stomachs.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Advise from the Trenches

After a very late night chat with #1 son a few nights ago and a bit of a follow up dialogue this afternoon, I've been thinking about parenting (and how little I actually know). Somehow I thought when my kids passed some magical age (which has yet to be determined...but apparently it's not a number in the teens), I somehow would have accumulated so much wisdom I would have at least some confidence to be that Titus 2 woman I always imagined ladies should be my the time they reach "my age".

The reality is, now that I have three teens and a tween (soon to be three teens and a twenty-something ), I think I have more questions than when I started this parenting journey. Sure, I've learned (and failed) some lessons along the way, but I still feel wholly inadequate in this parenting journey. What I have learned is to hobnob with people a whole lot smarter than myself, and reading blogs seems to be the perfect way to do that.

Yesterday I was catching up on some blogs and found this worth passing along, especially since I have so many wonderful nephews and just found out one of Patrick's nieces is expecting her first baby. I'm thankful for wise, articulate ladies - my virtual friends, if you will. Some of you don't even know who you are, but I thank you for your help.

Okay...did you go read it?  Here is is again...a great tip for raising boys.

So, go ahead.  Even if you aren't a southern girl and would never consider yourself a steel magnolia, let those boys do the heavy, or even light, lifting.  I know one thing, I've probably carried my laundry hamper to the upstairs laundry room for the very last time.  "Kevin, can you came here, please?"

Monday, April 11, 2011

This might be the only ray of sunshine for the Cardinals so far this season.  Albert is a nice guy...even if he hasn't found his swing yet this year.

And here's an interesting bit about the bat used to hit his 400th home run.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Amazing Life and Kids

For those of you who may not be friends with Kevin on facebook and haven't heard his announcement: He and his friend, Sam Brooks, are planning a two month trip to Europe in the fall.  I'm counting on a couple of dear friends in London and Berlin to hug their necks for me and make sure they have a decent shower and a proper meal once or twice while they are trekking their way around the continent.  
Here's a peek into why I absolutely LOVE having teenagers and young adult children.  Samantha is one of Alyssa's best friends and one of my absolute favorite young adults in the whole world.  Enjoy the following facebook dialogue and see why I think my kids and their friends are some of most amazing young people EVER (and I want to preserve and savor this moment).  We moms can feel invisible much of the time, so we must treasure times such as these.
Better be savin money man. Our next purchase needs to be a Eurorail pass. Looking like it'll be $550-$700. :/

    • Samantha Walton God created nitrogen. He can provide 700$ plus some
      8 hours ago · · 4 peopleLoading...

    • Ashley Liggett You can earn 500 a month if your working part time.
      7 hours ago ·

    • David Alejandro Estrada What are you doing in Europe?
      6 hours ago ·

    • Natalie Rath Eades David, wandering around Europe for 2 months. They are still in the planning stages, but have purchased plane tix to and from London.
      5 hours ago · 

    • Samantha Walton Mrs Natalie, how do you feel about your boy 'wandering around Europe?'
      5 hours ago · 

    • Natalie Rath Eades Okay...they'll be fine. Both very smart travelers. I'm just jealous I can't go with them. :-) Plus, I know a family in London who will let them couch surf when they are in England and Daniel and Heather Williams are in Berlin. They'll eat well and have a decent bed for at least a few nights. :-)

    • Samantha Walton Man, your faith in God is encouraging :) I'd be lying if i said i wasn't jealous. They'll never forget it for sure.
      5 hours ago ·

    • Samuel Brooks Natalie Rath Eades LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE!!
      5 hours ago ·

    • Natalie Rath Eades Samantha...should this REALLY require that much faith in God? Do you know something about these boys that I don't?
      5 hours ago ·

    • Samantha Walton Hahaha NO! I just know my mother. and the response iiii would get if i told her i was going to Europe for 2 months.
      5 hours ago ·

    • Natalie Rath Eades Boys...very different from girls. Not sure why, but it is. I'm not sure I would go for you and Alyssa doing the same trip. Sorry.
      5 hours ago ·

    • Samantha Walton I'm not sure I would go for me and Alyssa doing the same trip either haha
      5 hours ago · · 1 personYou like this.

    • Kevin Eades Samantha, what can Sam and I say?? Kathy Brooks and Natalie Rath Eades are the most amazing moms in the world. And to be honest I wish they were going with us!
      15 minutes ago ·  · 1 personYou like this.

    • Samantha Walton That they are. You're pretty awesome yourself Kev. You too Sam! Sam, promise me you'll bring my little brother back safe and sound :)
      12 minutes ago ·