Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stories of Bedtime

I have the best discussions with Will at bedtime! About a year ago we sponsored a little boy through World Vision named Charles. He is 8 years old and started the 1st grade last winter. Our family is SO blessed to be a part of his precious life, but that's another post. We received a picture and note from him today, something we always celebrate! In the picture, Charles is holding a goat and there is another goat standing beside him. During my prayer time with Will, I said something like, "Thank you for Charles and his family. Please help them to take care of their farm and goats and give them Your protection." Once I ended my prayer, Will said, "Mom, I'm pretty sure they eat that goat." Oh, dear. Me: "I don't think they eat goats, Will. I think they use the milk the goats make. We do eat the meat of some animals but not others." Will: "Yeah, we eat cows and pigs." Me: "And chickens." Will: "Chickens? Mom, we don't eat chickens!" Me: "Well, where do you think chicken comes from? Will: "Mom ... pigs!!!" We moved on from that and talked about a few more things. Me (getting up and walking out of the room): "Sleep good, I love you." Will: "I love you too, and I don't eat chickens!!!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Apology to the Parents of my First Grade Students

My mama raised me right ... say you're sorry when you need to. So, here goes.

Dear Parents of my First Grade students,
Hi. It's me, Mrs. Schloss. Yes, it's been 6, 7, 8, or 9 years since I was your child's first grade teacher, but maybe you still remember me. I was born to teach. Every minute in the classroom was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of mine. Truly, I loved teaching YOUR child. It was so exciting to see their eager faces at the beginning of each year and a true joy to watch them learn and grow over 9 months of precious time together. I loved them as if they were my own and I gave every day my very best.
However, there was always something that I thought was just a little odd. The parents of first graders. Some of you were "hoverers", others had long lists of how I should care for your child, and most were teary the first day/week/month of school. I just couldn't understand why you were still outside of my window 2 and 1/2 hours after school started. Or why you needed to know every detail of what happened during our school day. The kids and I were just fine with each other, why did you feel the need for one (or five) more hugs!?
We-e-e-ll, fast forward 6 years. Guess what!?! I am the parent of a 1st grader. This Thursday will be his first day of 1st grade and the first time that he is in school for a full day. I've been dreading this (yes, dreading!) all summer long. I know that he is ready for 1st grade. He loves to learn, he loves to be around other children, he LOVES recess, and most importantly, he loves his Spiderman lunchbox! It's me. I haven't been ready to let go. I've loved learning with him, seeing the world through his eyes as we've had so much time together. I've loved coordinating play dates and finding new places for fun experiences. I've loved our time at the park and the playground and on the swings in the backyard. I've loved eating lunch with him for the past 6 years. And while I am happy for him, that he is about to embark on an incredible adventure, I am sad for me.
So with tears in my eyes, I need to say that I'm sorry for thinking you were odd. And with a smile on my face (even though there are tear-stained cheeks!) I'd like to add that I now think you were perfectly normal. And just to make you feel even better ... tonight was "meet the teacher night." Will has the sweetest, young teacher. This will be her third year of teaching. As I started to go into my list of all of the special things about Will and how she could teach him best, and wanted to show him everything in the room (where his desk was, where he would hang his backpack, where he could find the trashcan...), and started to think that I should probably be prepared to "hang out" a little bit after the drop off time, I noticed that his teacher was looking at me as if I were a little bit odd ...

With greatest admiration,
Mrs. Schloss

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

Did you think I had fallen off of the bandwagon already? Nope, I'm really determined to keep blogging this time!! We have just returned from the Happiest Place on Earth. Now let me just say that there were many people there who didn't look or sound all that happy ... but I get what WDW is trying to accomplish. John's parents treated our whole family to few days in the parks and a 4 night Disney cruise to celebrate their 40th anniversary. That's my kind of celebrating! It was SO much fun and it was HOT and exhausting. We made some wonderful memories with our family, here are some highlights:
  • We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was SO nice. Will and Kate loved looking at all of the animals on our daily treks (Papa figured out it was a quarter mile one way from the elevator to our room door) to and from the room. Nana and I had fun trying to find all of the "subliminal" Mickey's in the decor. We found him on our soap and shampoo, in the carpet, curtains, and shower curtain. Stephen and I even thought we saw a few Mickey shaped clouds! If anybody could do that, Disney could!
  • BELIEVE the warnings outside of the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom. I can't remember what exactly they say, as Will and I were running from the building once we got unbuckled, but something about it being turbulent and frightening. It. was. John joked that Will and I were in the "tuck and roll" position through the entire 2 minute and 34 second ride. Bill has a pretty hilarious picture of this ... maybe I'll get a copy, then again, maybe I won't!
  • Hollywood Studios was a great place to meet characters. Will had a blast getting his picture made with Mater, Lightning McQueen, the Blue Ranger, Buzz, and Zurg. Kate L-O-V-E-D the playhouse Disney show. She clapped, danced, and yelled hooray! through the whole thing. So fun to watch your child soaking it all in!
  • At Epcot, we had dinner in Mexico and it was delicious and also very nicely air conditioned (a huge plus, as we had to ring our clothes out at the end of each day!). Nana and Papa took Kate back to the room after dinner and the rest of us got to ride lots of rides pretty quickly. The guidebooks are right on when they advise you to ride rides after 6pm ... we hardly waited in a line!
  • The Magic Kingdom was just like I remembered. I think this was my favorite day in the park just because there is so much to do there. Will had to be coerced into each ride (leftovers from the dinosaur ride!), but once he got on, he loved them all. Kate slept through It's a Small World, but Papa was holding her, so I think he enjoyed it even more. She liked the Winnie the Pooh ride and the Jungle Cruise. She loved The Country Bear Jamboree and both kids were amazed at the parade. It was so cute to see Kate waving to all of the characters. We were smart enough (we think!) to walk through the insanity waiting on the fireworks over Cinderella's castle and go just to the outside of the entrance. We saw the whole beautiful show AND caught the first shuttle back to our hotel. Victory!
  • Next came the cruise, and I just can't say enough about how terrific it was. Everyone was so kind and especially intent on making sure Will and Kate had a great time.
  • This is where we found out that Kate wasn't so fond of the Disney characters. After standing in line (of course!) to meet Donald, we had our family picture taken and as we were leaving, John (who was holding Kate) turned for her to see Donald and she started screaming - not crying - SCREAMING "No! No! No! No!" Wow, point made!
  • Well, fast forward 24 hours and Mom sees Belle and thinks, oh Kate will feel differently about a princess! Nope. More screaming "No!" Needless to say, we do not have a picture of Kate with Mickey Mouse.
  • We spent a morning at Disney's private island Castaway Cay. It was really nice, the weather wasn't. After about 30-45 minutes on the beach, it started pouring rain. Pouring. Rain. Will and Kate had almost as much fun dancing in the rain as they did playing in the sand and we didn't have to rinse off before we got back on the boat ... we did have to dry off :o).
  • Finally, I have to say that we had the most wonderful, kind table hosts. Arvin and Victoria (from the Ukraine!) went way above and beyond. Arvin did magic tricks for Will and Victoria came running anytime Kate thought about fussing. They always had chocolate milk waiting on the table when we arrived and kept the bread basket full. They were a big blessing to our family!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Papa and Nana ... it was a dream vacation!!!