Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I can't keep up

Right now, life just seems to be getting busier and busier. At the last PCC meeting with Preschool I was named the new Vice Chair for the next school year. I may just regret this decision, but I am remaining hopeful that it will be good for me. It is time I got to know more Moms in the community. It is time I took some action in working on my time management skills. It is time I showed myself and my family that I can do something that scares me.

As I write this my husband has just arrived home from the doctors; face swollen, both eyes almost shut a Prednisone prescription in hand. I pray that it gives him the relief he needs. See our old house in Leesburg, the one we are renting out, has a plant in the backyard. Every time Fred would go out to de-weed or work in the yard he would get an allergic reaction. Nothing this severe, but enough to be bothersome for a few days. It's been three years and we've forgotten this little bit of information and we prepare to kick out our renters. It's a long story. He went to the rental property to get the yard in shape for putting it back on the market. Came home all blotchy red and itchy and we remembered. That was two days ago and he has only gotten worse. I pleaded with him to go to the doctor earlier but as we all know men don't listen to their wives about these things and it takes a severe act for them to do any kind of self care. Back to his swollen face, it turns out it is poison ivy in the yard and well, my husband is severely allergic. Clearly. I just have to say out loud how thankful I am that we have moved from that house, where poison ivy dwells in the backyard and where my children would be playing. Seriously thankful. Now, I am just hoping and praying that he gets better soon.

On top of all this we are preparing for our little baby girl to turn two this Saturday, with me busily planning a TinkerBell themed birthday. I've been immersed in all things green and yellow and having to do with fairies and Pixie Hollow. It's been fun. I'll be sure to take plenty of photos this year, unlike last.

Amongst all this chaos we managed to fit in Mason's first helicopter ride with Daddy, a reunion with my Eta Rho sisters from JMU, a few taco nights with family and friends, a Mother's Day tea with my little boy, an unexpected adult Easter egg hunt and Sophia learning to ride the tricycle.

I'm sure life will only get busier over the next few weeks as we count down the days till the end of school. As much as I love having a child in school, I look forward to the slower pace of summer. To splashing in the pool, family bike rides to the park, and fresh tomatoes, strawberries and peppers from our garden. To eating on the deck every night, bubbles in the yard, free movies and concerts for the kids, and trips to the Zoo. I look forward to being outside more, getting active, and playing with my husband and kids. I look forward to many many pictures and many many stories.

This wasn't my most elegant post, I've been distracted, in more ways than one. And, yeah, I'll probably be absent again from the blogosphere but I'll get the hang of this life, eventually, and find time for all the things I love.
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teacher Appreciation

I've been absent from blogging lately. There has been a good reason. Life got really busy. But in a good way. Events at school picked up and social time with friends and family are in full swing. So I've been busy living my life as opposed to writing about it. And that is always a good thing.

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week. A week that has been in much anticipation amongst the education community. If you are the parents of a school aged child, preschool or otherwise, you know what I am talking about.

This being my first year, I was not sure what to expect. I have to say I am impressed with the organization of our PCC with these events. Especially after talking with my friends and the dealings with their schools. The PCC organized every event. The only thing I, as room parent, was responsible for doing, was passing on information to the parents of my class. Each girl was to bring in a piece of fruit and each boy a single stem flower for each teacher on their assigned day. The teachers were asked to bring in a vase and a basket. The idea was that each teacher ended up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a basket of yummy fruit. I took Mason to pick out flowers the night before. He was careful to make sure each teacher got their favorite color. We then took a picture of him holding a sign that said "You are awesome." I then printed them out and cut into circles to add to scalloped circles, punched a hole and tied to each stem with a ribbon. It was simple and lovely and the teachers were all so delighted.

A "Hallmark Day" was also organized, in which each child would make a card or draw a picture expressing how their teacher makes school special. The same could be done regarding fruit, flowers and cards, for any administrators or specialists (like the Music, Art and Spanish teachers-yes my son takes daily Spanish lessons in preschool). Mason had drawn pictures for each teacher. For his main teacher he drew a picture of them during outside time. For the assistant teacher he drew a picture of himself and Bumblebee as they share a love for Transformers and everything Bumblebee. For his music teacher, he drew a picture of Spring Sing. For his art and Spanish teachers he drew photos of him with them. Each teacher loved his creations and flowers of choice. Unfortunately I forgot my camera that day and got no photos of Mason's wonderful creations. Let me tell you how much I kicked myself in the butt over that one. But, such is life.

Now, as I mentioned before, this is my first year having a child in school. And I just want to say how much of a relief it has been to have these two wonderful teachers in Mason's classroom. They work really hard to enrich the lives of those children each and every day. Having seen how much Mason has grown, in mind, body and spirit, in just the time he has been at school almost leaves me speechless. In the meetings it was mentioned that this week would be a great opportunity for us, as parents, to send in a simple note to share our appreciation as well. While I had always planned to make a card for them, when it came to the day I had dropped the ball. So busy getting birthday invitations created, finished and sent in the mail. Feeling guilty for not having shown my appreciation to these two wonderful women with whom I have worked closely over the last eight months, I wracked my brain with ideas to easily show how I was feeling inside.

Remembering the gift tags I made for the flowers, I had an idea and busily went to work finishing the project in one day. Here is what I came up with.
I had originally thought to use clay flower pots but found these adorable containers at AC Moore on 50% sale.

I then went to work choosing various pictures of Mason, his teachers, and the class throughout the year. Printed each one and cut them into 1.5 inch circles using my Martha Stewart circle cutter, and punched the flower backgrounds out of yellow, pink and purple paper using the Marvy Uchida giga scalloped circle punch. I glued them together and then used Glue Dots to attach them to lollipop sticks I also picked up at AC Moore. I created a sentiment in Photoshop that said, "Thank You for helping Mason grow," and used that as the center of the arrangement. Here's a close up.
Next, I put floral foam in the bottom of each container and stuck the lollipop sticks with the flower pictures into the foam in an arrangement I thought was pleasing. Then I filled each one with Spanish Moss, tied a pink ribbon around each container and stamped a "So Thankful for You" sentiment onto card stock and attached it to the ribbon.

Friday morning I walked Mason in and presented them to the teachers. All of us were holding back tears as we pointed out each photo; Mason's first day of school, roasting marshmallows at Ticonderoga Farm field trip, Christmas party, Spring Sing, various artwork Mason brings home in the red Friday folders that we proudly display in our living room, etc. They loved the picture history and I expressed that I could never thank them enough for all they do and have done for Mason.

I am so glad that there is a whole week to give our thanks to all the teachers out there who give their time to making sure our children are equipped with the knowledge, courage and imagination to be anything they dream.

I know it's preschool, and I hear this statement a lot. "It's just preschool," as if it doesn't matter or isn't a big deal. Yet we spend hours upon hours agonizing over the right school to send our children and then stress over what teacher they are going to be assigned and how well they will adapt. So if it is just preschool then why go through all that trouble? It shouldn't matter right? Well, I don't see it this way. I believe Preschool is the foundation of our children's journey through education, learning, and socialization. It is their introduction to structure, routine, and following instructions from another adult (other than their parents). It's the base for all the fundamental things they learn from Kindergarten on.

I see the hours Ms. Regher and Mrs. Aviles put in. I see the love, care and support they have for each and every child that walks through their door. I see the well thought out curriculum they produce each week, month. I see the detail they go into at conferences and their overall passion for teaching. We have been blessed to have these two women in our son's life.
I really could never thank them enough. But really from the bottom of my heart, I say Thank You so much for all you do. It has made such a difference in the life of our son (and mine).
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