The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Piano recital

Her second piano recital.
(Sorry about the shaky parts and the fuzzy zooming. I was trying to do 173,498 things at once.) video

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No grand finale... no fanfare... just DONE. (But not really.)

Yesterday was the last day of school. Yesterday we had a wonderful assembly, a social time for the kids, and then the staff waved goodbye to the big yellow busses. Yesterday I packed up most of my school materials, turned in my grades, and locked my classroom door.

Elvis has left the building. It was oddly anticlimactic. I had to run down to my classroom and get something for someone and really didn't get to say goodbye personally to most of my students. No hugs. No "Have a good summer!" echoing in my classroom. No personal exchanges at all. Very different from years past.

In a way, it was a relief. The last day of school can be kind of emotionally draining for the kids and the staff. I really enjoyed my students this year and I hope they come back to greet me next year when they are big 7th graders. But saying goodbye over and over and over... the faces start to blur and the words become less than sincere. Plus, there was that lingering doubt about whether I had taught them anything at all.

I always do this. Spring is the most introspective time for me. We take the state test in early May and then I get 6 or 7 weeks of wondering if I did my job well enough to take the kids to the next level. We won't get the test results until late August and until then... I think, I plot , I scheme, I plan... I ask myself, "What can I do next year to make it even better? How can I arrange my classroom, my schedule, and my lessons in order to help my students really learn the material?"

I have a big chunk of the summer to ponder those questions. I have a big chunk of the summer to re-read my favorite books about teaching, meet with colleagues, and just let my brain noodle over the various ideas. It's this way with most teachers I know- we really don't get 3 months "off" in the summer. We get about 8 weeks of no official responsibilities, but we hit the ground running in late August- armed with knowledge and optimism and hopes for a brand new year.

But before that, I have to go back in to the building to pack up a few more boxes, purge some paperwork, label everything because it will be moved out of the way for the new carpets, and grab my African violet off the windowsill. Then I will be done. For now.

Last night I turned off the alarm on my clock radio. It felt so good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An outing to Portland

A couple of weeks ago, I took the fam to P-town where we ate at Little Big Burger and went shopping at Powell's. It was fun- especially since I was the only one who had even been to Powell's before. Hard to believe that place takes up a whole city block!
Here's the resulting scrapbook pages of our afternoon:



Little Big Burger has the most tasty fries! And the servings are big, so you might want to split a bag. They make their own ketchup (or catsup) and it is also very good. The burgers are smaller than your standard fast-food burgers, but bigger than sliders. Goldilocks would like them because they aren't too big and they aren't too small- they are juuuuuust right!

("I Love to Read" layout based on one-page sketch # 4 by Scrapbook Generation at www.sketchsupport.com)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yo!

Frozen yogurt... brings to mind places like TCBY (And I'm not sure that is in business anymore!).
Never fear frozen yogurt lovers, there's a new place in town, and it is sure to please your palate and your desire to be choosey.

It's called YO2GO and it's on Hwy 99 in Salmon Creek up by Burgerville and Panda Express.
The Abstraktor and I went there today after church and we had a great time.

You walk in, get a cup, and then dispense the amount of each flavor that you want into your cup. I chose a little bit each of Hershey's Kiss Chocolate, Heath Bar Toffee, and Sweet Coconut. Abby chose Hershey's Kiss Chocolate and Strawberry/Banana. There's 12 different yogurt flavors from which to choose- that's bound to make the whole family happy! Plus- what kid doesn't like to pull down a handle and watch cool smooth flavor spiral into his or her bowl?

Then, you go to the topping bar. It starts with nuts and crunchy things and moves on to fruit and crumbled candy bars. After those toppings, you can layer on hot fudge, hot caramel, strawberry syrup, marshmallow creme, or a host of other goopy sweet things.

You then weigh your purchase and pay $.40 for each ounce. So, you can take exactly what you want to eat and not pay for something you don't like or a serving size that is too large.

The yogurt was smooth and creamy, and the flavors tasted just right- not like they came out of a bottle of flavoring.

There's inside seating and outside seating- perfect for a warm summer day that we might just get around here... in August!

If you live around here, you should try this place. Next time I go, I'll take pictures so you can see our culinary creations!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Pony Tail is in the Mail!

For awhile, long hair was her greatest desire. In fact, I used to have to threaten her with a haircut if she got more than one "red card" a week at school.

Times have changed- now fashion is all the rage.

She really wanted it cut a few months ago, but I suggested growing just a bit longer so she could donate to Locks of Love. She agreed, but waiting was agony and today was the day she just HAD to get it cut. It's getting warmer out, and she also wanted to show everyone at school before they all left for the summer.

Before

During
After
And now we just mail in the pony tail, and the rest is history!
(Well, there will be some scrapbooking, too. Gotta mark the occasion.)

Oh- an interesting tidbit- the hairdresser's name was Abby, too!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Po brings it.

Kung Fu Panda 2. A simple movie about a panda's desire to do the right thing and save Kung Fu and generally be AWESOME.
Except, it's deeper than that. Read this review
You see, in this sequel, Po finds out why he was raised by a goose father instead of by his birth pandas.

I won't spoil it by telling you the full story, let's just say the whole thing raised questions about

adoption

abandonment

commitment

love

destiny

and China.

I didn't know this was going to happen. My first clue was when my Chinese daughter was sobbing and wiping her eyes with the back of her sleeves about halfway through the show. I moved the theater seat arm rest so I could hug her and she blubbered, "That's like me."
I whispered, "I know." and we snuggled together for the rest of the movie.
At the end she said, "I don't think we should buy this DVD, mom." and I told her that we didn't have to.

We had more discussions at home, many of them trying to grapple with the idea of eventually meeting her birth people. She would like to go to China to accomplish this. I would like to as well. She also realizes that such a meeting might never happen, and to that end, she often prays her birth people would accept Jesus and she would get to see them in Heaven.

I don't know if it will ever work out logistically to take a trip back to China. I don't know if such a trip would raise more questions than it answers.

I do know that sometimes I see her as just one of many, many girls from China that have been adopted by American parents, but she sees herself as the only one who has had this experience.
It doesn't matter how many kids she knows at school who are adopted, or how many Chinese-American girls there are in her Sunday School group. She is unique, and is the only one who knows what it is like to be her. Our discussions remind me of that fact, and I am again humbled by her spirit and her courage. I know this is just one of the many times we will share these thoughts as she grows older and her perspectives change and mature.

Toward the end of the movie, Po and his (adoptive) dad enjoy some quality time and we are all reminded that there a strong bond between them. So it is with me and Ab.

Thanks for the reminder, Po. You ARE awesome.