Sunday, December 10, 2006

Merry Crazy Christmas

I guess this is the Howard way to celebrate the annual family Christmas Photo!
I especially like whatever William is doing - homeboy!!
Followed by a close up of my lovely little niece, Lydia!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Haircut

So - once again I felt compelled to chop! My hair.
I was thinking maybe grow it out but... once I got to the hair salon I figured, "Why Not?" right? Winter is coming - perfect time for a short 'do!
Plenty of time to grow it out later!
It feels good. and fun!

Happy Birthday to Matthew!

Not a surprise - but still a fun bday party at the house with a few folks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Puritan Times

This week I had some fun at school - Mr. D was holding his Puritan Court in Social Studies, so I teamed up to help the students write their cases. I also dressed up one day as Anne Bradstreet, and told the students about America's First Published Author... We read the poem "An Author to Her Book" and discussed her situation during Puritan Times. It was an interesting class - some kids knew a lot about what it meant to be Puritan and most classes were pretty active in the discussion - especially since I surprised them with the costume & all.

Anyways, it was fun for ME! :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me! The BIG ONE

Okay - so for me right now the BIG ONE was 30... check out my sister's site for some pictures of the SURPRISE event - I about jumped out of my SKIN when I opened the door to our house and saw PEOPLE! I thought some burglars had crept in!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Spokane Wedding

What a beautiful weekend for a jet to Spokane, WA for Sarah B. Baumann's wedding on Labor Day! The hotel was GRAND, and the wedding was sweet and elegant. Sarah chose lovely reds and oranges that went perfectly with the fall outdoor pond setting.
Loved the day, the dress, the bride, (and the cake! YUM!)
Blessings to you Jeff & Sarah McMorris!

Oh, and I HIGHLY recommend the Davenport Hotel in the historic section of downtown Spokane. Not only is the lobby breaktaking (see photo), but the rooms are SO comfortable and they give you soft, crumbly delicious peanut brittle every night when they turn down your bed! (If you're nice, they give you an extra helping!). Did I mention that every room has it's own doorbell?

The Kitchen is Complete!

Hear ye! Hear ye!
Our kitchen is officially FINISHED!!! Phew!
Thanks to all involved. We LOVE IT!

BEFORE: (just a bad photo of the dining room, but you get the idea!)


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fall is Like Fresh Sheets

Here's an entry from my writer's notebook - I assigned the students to "live like writers - notice details" this weekend. And I promised them that I would too. So I did... this is the semi-revised version

Early sunny September morning. My sneakers are laced up and my head is still waking up! The sunlight seems weaker now than August's sun, and the sky - a clear, hard blue - seems farhter away than August's sky.
The breeze snaps crisply through still-green leaves: wind on a line of clean linens. Making them whisper together like children telling secrets in bed.
A frisk of gray squirrel tail disappears among the branches, back to its warm nest. The crunchy carpet of broken acorn shells surrounds the tree in a semi-circle. It makes me think that the family Squirrel was up late having a nut party!
I draw my gray fleece over my head, and let myself melt into its soft warmth, wishing I could whisk myself back to bed like the squirrel.
And I think: "Fall is like fresh clean sheets - you want to pull it up around you and hit the seasonal snooze button, to enjoy it for just a few more minutes. Just a few more minutes!"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brazilian Cherry Floors!

The floors are IN! It's almost done - so exciting - we're STILL waiting for the cabinets though!!!! :)
Take a look at our pretty-pretty-shiny-shiny new Cherry hardwood floors. They feel so silky smooth under barefeet!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Stampin up Party!

Here's photos from the last few Stampin Up parties I've been to - the first one is from my party last night. It was so much fun! Thanks everyone for coming! :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lookie, Lookie!

The first coat of Red! It's just the way I imagined! We'll need to put a light second coat on, but PHEW finally it's starting to look like something! Can't wait for the floor and cabinets! :)

Also, there's been a special request for a close up of the chandelier - so here it is!
Ouch, my hands ache from rolling paint on all afternoon! :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Oh Chandelier, Oh Chandelier

How lofty are thy branches! ;)

Update on the construction zone - we've installed the new chandelier and the moulding is up - everything has a fresh coat of primer! NEXT STEP: Paint! More pics to follow... Stay tuned!

Flooring will be delayed until next week - :( oh well!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Auntie!

YAY! I'm a new aunt (again) - baby Lydia Elisabeth was born this morning. Photos to follow! :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Granite, Sweet Granite

YAY! Our granite countertop was delivered today - now we just await the cabinets to go with it (and the moulding, painting, flooring, window shades!)
It's beautiful - Black Galaxy granite - you might not be able to see it in the photo, but there are some pretty gold flecks in their that really look great under lighting!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Recent Work

To prove we haven't spent the summer lazing around the house, I thought I'd update you on the recent work going on.

First, the kitchen remodeling project. Here's a photo of what it looks like right now. Painting and flooring will be done next week. Cabinets and granite countertop have been ordered and will come in soon I hope! It's not pretty now, but it will be!!

Also, we put in a wildflower garden in the front yard where the old stump used to be - Matthew put in a rock border and I added a sundial (sorry you can't see it in the photo, and anyways, it only tells the time in the morning b/c then it gets shady but... I wanted to put it outside!). The flowers are coming in nicely - most of the seeds were perennials, so I'm excited to see it really take off next year b/c I think most of them won't flower until their second year.

Writing wise - I spent the last 2 days writing my 1st 3 lessons for the school year - all in writing workshop mode. I see it as being a much better method for me in the classroom. Thinking about my lessons this way has really been stretching my mind as I search for ways to teach the strategy, and think about whether or not what I'm having the kids do is really going to make them successful! I think over time, it'll be easier to develop my plans once I get used to the method.

Also, I've been working on a poem - there's a first in a long time! It's a sestina.

Monday, July 31, 2006

5 Claims of Value

Matthew recently gave me Daily Sparks Writing Prompt books for me to develop my writing. Each book has 180 writing prompts to challenge writers. I already had the Shakespeare and the Poetry books, and he gave me Journal Writing and Critical Thinking . I just did 2 entries, and the one from Critical Thinking was interesting.
The prompt talked about making a claim that you can support. One type of claim is a claim of value, where you state that something either HAS or lacks value. Then the prompt said to write 5 Claims of Value. So I tried. I think I got way too specific - b/c I was trying to support my claim in my claim (only b/c I wanted to PROVE IT! ha!). But... I'm going to post my 5 claims online - maybe you won't agree - that's okay; I'm not looking for criticism or arguments.... but I'm wondering if you'd respond with a claim of value of your own if you feel like it!

1. A deep understanding of the Bible allows for a greater understanding of most classical literature (that written in the English language and written before 1980). For that matter, even a general knowledge of the Bible would help!

2. Learning to play a musical instrument at an early age plays an important role in developing critical and/or complex thinking later in life.

3. Poetry is worth studying: for its beauty of word choice, honesty, patterns/structure and underlying sounds and rhythms.

4. Learning to be alone, by yourself, with no form of modern entertainment has worth - you will understand yourself, your goals, your thinking, and you will come to understand others also.

5. The Internet, along with cell phones and video games, is depleting our society of its morality and empathy. Anybody can say anything and be anybody without fear of repercussions. Nobody has to take a face-to-face stance.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Illo Friday - Opposites

"I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree / A tree whose hungry mouth is prest. / Against the earth's sweet flowing brest;/ A tree that looks at God all day, /And lifts her leafy arms to pray," - Joyce Kilmer

I've long been thinking about plants and roots and weeds as I garden. Even when I close my eyes, I see weeds!

I chose to draw a tree - bare bones, of course, to illustrate "Opposites." In my image, I drew the roots as an exact mirror of the branches to illustrate the opposing forces of branch vs root. The branches reaching up are held by the roots reaching down. It's only this Push-me-Pull-you state (if you will - it was my favorite Dr. Doolittle animal!)that keeps the tree alive and growing against gravity. Might this illustrate Newton's Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? Tree grows UP, then tree must grow DOWN. Forgive my trampling of biology, but it seems that the two need each other to survive? Opposites attract.

I also like the concept that while the branches are free to swing in the air and sunshine, the roots by contrast are locked firmly in place in the dark depths of earth - 2 more opposites: motion and stasis (STASIS Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, act or condition of standing, stopping, from histasthai to stand -- see, STAND).

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pigeon books

Matthew and I just returned from Borders where I forced him to listen to me read ALL the Mo Willems books I could find. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late is my FAVORITE! So clever and funny too. It totally reminds me of what I was like when I was little and wouldn't go to bed. I got a big kick out of reading the books to Matthew in my pigeon voice too! Anyways, it was fun and entertaining! You should go out and read them... and while you're at it, "How about a hot dog party?" :)

Beach- OUCH!

Back to the beach house this week for a few days - I actually got some color. Brie and Lori were there with us for awhile too. Here's a photo of Old Saybrook! The sunsets are just beautiful. This is actually from last summer. This year the sunsets have seemed more purply than orange....

I got pinched TWICE by some crabs in the sand when I went water walking! OUCH! They were scary! I mean, if their pinchers can hurt, can you imagine how big they must have been? I didn't stick around to find out - I went screaming all the way back to the sand (much to Matthew's embarrassment!) and then made Matthew carry me across the last tidal pool. Crabs are like giant spiders of the sea - and you know how I hate spiders! YUK! Plus, what are the chances of getting pinched TWICE in 5 minutes?

The last night, we had a HUGE thunderstorm blow through the area - it felt more like a hurricane! The power went out, and the wind howled and whistled in an eerie, scary-movie way! The rain was being driven in off the water so hard it was going sideways! One of the glass topped picnic tables was carried past the house into the front yard (but unbroken!) and an old wooden rowboat was pushed about 50 feet until it landed by the house! Strong winds! The sheet lightning was almost non-stop for hours with a few large bolts far away. The tide was out and the lightning would illuminate the empty beach every few seconds like a strobe light, making it seem like a wasteland. Even though there's plenty of houses around, the storm isolated us with its sound and power. Definitely did not make for a sound sleep! But it was amazing to watch.

Sweet sounds of summer...

Okay so MY sweet sounds of summer are the huge trucks coming to repave our road, accompanied by the sick smell of tar. Can one even DESCRIBE the smell of tar? I can't b/c I'll get sick...
I've been on Summer Vacation for 3.5 weeks now and just beginning to realize it!
Week 1 - Went to a 4 day workshop on how to teach Writer's Workshop in class. I'm pretty excited about it - it seems like a good way for me to teach and reach all my students at different levels. There's just a lot of set up involved by way of class discipline and students have to get used to a different style of learning. I'll keep you posted on how it goes! Right now I have about 6 books to read before I can really feel ready for it and another 3 day workshop to go to on Reader's Workshop! :)

Week 2 - Went to the shore - First we stopped at The Water's Edge in Westbrook (?) for some spa services and fantastic meal - that was great - I HIGHLY recommend it! :) Then we spent a few days at the Settipane's beach house in Old Saybrook. Very relaxing, and got to see Karen and Russ and the Kids!

Week 3 - Our church had camp meetings all week with services morning and night. All the messages were really good. Also I saw the Ericson's there too - I went to school with Kristina like back in 8th grade! I don't think I've seen her since her first semester at BJU, unless she was at Miriam's wedding?? Not sure.
Also we went out to RI to visit with Karen and Russ and Joe and Kathy - we haven't seen Joe in about a year and a half! We brought him some wedding cake since he was in Iraq when we got married! HA!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Black Belt!

Last night I went to Norwalk with Matthew to watch him test for his 3rd degree black belt. I'd actually never seen him "perform" before - I don't know what verb you use for "doing karate." It was awesome to see him in his "gi" (sp?) and he's so GOOD! (of course! haha)... There were only 3 black belts getting tested, all for their 3rd degree. I enjoyed watching - my favorite part was the board breaking... they say it's really not hard, but I find it pretty impressive! Matthew is the one on the far right (in case you didn't know!)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Cat in the Hat Returns

How fitting that after a 2 month haitus (no, not HAIKU, haitus), I return to write again on Dr. Seuss's birthday! Today I wore a Cat in the Hat suit to school all day (although we did have an early dismissal b/c of snow!). I read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back to my students (and There's a Wocket in my Pocket, which is my personal favorite!). I think the kids got a kick out of it.

We're gearing up for the CMTs next week, so I'm hoping my little students will "do their best, on their test" as our motto is! We'll be doing a mini science fiction unit during testing, reading stories like "All Summer in a Day" and "Monsters are Due on Maple Street." Then we'll be starting Poetry Writing - which is my favorite type of writing, but difficult to teach, I've learned because of negative attitudes students have (already!) developed! OH well - time to push them a bit, right?

Hopefully I'll get myself in gear to write more, and to start the Illustration Fridays again. Bye now.


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