Friday, May 11, 2012


It's only a 15 minute drive from my house to Parkway, but it may as well be worlds apart. An outsider probably wouldn't be able to recognize the riches this community has despite its poverty. They have deep cultural roots and such a strong sense of family. They have each other's backs.     

This has been one of the most challenging years of my life - yet in the midst of it I've been given so many gifts.

One of my first memories is walking into each 1st grade classroom and meeting my team. They welcomed me with open arms - and chocolate. They told me I was an answer to their prayers, a blessing. I cried. For so many reasons I cried. 

It's not easy teaching at Parkway, in fact it's extremely tough. Behavior is a daily challenge. Trying to engage the students for 7 1/2 hours EVERYday is exhausting. But you can't help but fall in love with them. They are so loving, and in need of so much love.

Ernest. Oh Ernest. I'll never forget sweet Ernest. My first day was a wake-up call. Parkway kids know one volume, and one volume only...LOUD! Definitely not something I was used to. So out of frustration and desperation I raised my voice to get their attention. It got their attention, and took little Ernest by surprise. He looked at me with shock in his big brown eyes, and without missing a beat raised his hands to the heavens and proclaimed "hallelujah"! I couldn't help but laugh out loud. That boy knows him some church and he knew I was preaching! He is always so eager and full of joy. He walks in bright-eyed with a big smile on his face every morning.

Se'Niya. Se'Niya can't sit still or be quiet to save her life. And I gave up asking her to try either one a long time ago. If you walked into my classroom you would probably hear Se'Niya singing something like "Somebody call 911...Shawty fire burning on the dance floor..." Or you might see her on top of her desk. Or you might see her whipping her new weave back and forth proudly. There isn't a dull moment when Se'Niya is around.    

There were days that I wanted to run away and never go back. I would cry in the morning on the way to school and at night after I got home. Then there were days that I didn't want to teach anywhere else. I wouldn't have traded Parkway for anything.  

After this year I am headed back to Roberts to teach 3rd grade reading. I will leave Parkway with my eyes opened and my heart expanded. I am thankful for the experience. I will treasure this year always. Parkway holds a special place in my heart.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hanging in There Like a Hair in a Biscuit...

So the past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. Just when I was getting used to 3rd grade and things were settling down, my world was turned upside down.

Long story short...3 weeks after school started, because our numbers were low at Roberts, I was surplussed to another campus. After working so hard to get my classroom together I had to tear it all down and start over from scratch. A new school, new students, new staff, new grade-level...let me just say there have been many tears shed the last few weeks. But in a weird, God-works-in-mysterious-ways kind-of way, this chaos has been an answer to prayer. (Now that I have some hindsight to the situation it is getting easier to choke those words out).


Prior to changing schools I had been telling Chad that I felt like I wasn't being challenged as a teacher. I wanted experience teaching reading (as I had only taught math, science, and social studies) and it was something that I really felt strongly about. And strangely enough I never felt a peace about being in 3rd was as if God was preparing my heart and mind for the move.

I was told on a Monday that I would be leaving Roberts...Tuesday I packed up my class...Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I set up shop in the new room...and the next Monday started teaching first grade at Parkway. So I got what I wished for. I get to teach reading...and math...and science...and social studies!! I think God definitely has a sense of humor.

Through this whole process I have been blessed. So many people have reached out to give me words of encouragement, and have taken time out of their lives to help me with lessons, the classroom, etc. The staff at Parkway has been amazing. They welcomed me with open arms. I really couldn't ask for anything else. So here is the new room...

And the rolling cart that is insanely heavy and full of 1st grade curriculum. I am not a morning person so you can imagine how happy I am to load this into the car EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

Our baby girl turned 8. Her birthday was on a we surprised her by having her locker decorated all cutesie!

And then we had a slumber party at a hotel and there were little girls everywhere:)

Taylor's art won 2nd place at the fair!

And little man started the 4 year old class at KDO.

Life is good!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Four Year Shots...

Connor has only been four since March. I'm feeling pretty good that we finally got him in for his well-check. Geez. So he has grown three-and-a-half inches, which puts him in the 40th percentile. Yay. We have a kid that broke the tenth percentile! That's exciting.

We warned Connor last night that he would have to get shots. I don't know which is worse...springing it on them at the last minute or forewarning. He tried so hard to be brave, but it was just too much when the needles actually made their dreaded appearance.

Sometimes I feel silly taking pictures of, what seems like mundane, unimportant things like going to the doctor...but down the road I'm always glad I did. It's memories that would probably otherwise be forgotten. I love the little everyday happenings of life.

My parents bought Ladder Ball for the kids. That's a fun game. We've been playing in the front yard. All 3 of our kids are competitive. They like to talk a lot of smack. Wonder where they get that from?!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Pictures...

So my new thing is playing with the Instagram app. I love taking pictures of the little, daily things that make up our life. And Blurb has the coolest idea...putting your instagram photos in a book. Love it! I plan on doing one for each season. The summer book is almost finished and ready for print.

In pictures, this is what has been happening round here.

I found these magnetic letters at the Dollar Spot in Target. Haven't had them in awhile, but they are great for Connor.


They're back! Oh friendship bracelets!


Oh Harry...why does it have to end?

Playing on

Hanging around

Too big

I have a love/hate relationship with this place. I'm in the love phase right now...hoping it lasts.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Goings On at the Hill's...

We spent last Saturday at our friends' getaway in Roaring Springs. They call it the TTR (teeny tiny ranch). It is beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing...a great place to take a deep breath and enjoy nature.
We floated the pond.

We cooked-out on the reefer.

We played.


We bonded.

We enjoyed the rain clouds that surrounded us.

We rode like red-necks. Life on the TTR is nice!

These 2 little guys are the best of friends. We just refer to them as Seth and Chad Jr. They are miniature versions of their dads, and it is too funny watching them in action. They took swimming lessons together this week and got to hang out a little more than usual. Love these boys!

And last night this happened. Our doorbell rang at 10:55 and this is what was waiting for us. a sidewalk and driveway all chalked-up. Yep! Taylor was "chalked" for the first time. We are especially thankful it was not t.p. Considering our younger days of wrapping, if what goes around comes around then we are done for.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

I ♥ West Texas...

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Mommy Teacher...

As a teacher I am always looking for ways to make learning more enjoyable for my students. Of course my most important students are my 3 kiddos.

Our mission right now? The alphabet. We are working with Connor on his letters and the sounds they make. I find it fascinating how little ones acquire language. They are just like little sponges.

We want it to be fun so we came up with a few activities to motivate him. The girls are even excited about it. And man they are great little teachers themselves. It's so fun watching them work patiently with their little brother.

Our plan is to focus on one letter a week. We will really delve into that letter and learn as much as we can about it (capital, lowercase, its sound, etc). We will have Connor do different activities with each letter. For example we may print off a page of capital A's and lowercase a's, have him cut them out, and then sort them into 2 piles. That will also help develop his fine motor skills. We will explore our world and discover all the places we find letters.

We are starting with "A". Tomorrow we are going on a road trip and the competition is on. Whoever finds the most A's wins. The "A" can be on signs, billboards, clothes, the t.v., inside the car...wherever! I will keep a log and the winner gets to pick out a prize (dollar spot @ Target, ice cream, etc). They are pumped!

What I love most is sitting down and reading a good book with my kids. From picture books to chapter books I want to instill in them a love for reading. And what better way to end a long day than cuddling up with my 3 babies and escaping in a good story?!

There are so many resources that promote phonics skills/phonemic awareness. Here are a few of the resources we have found and like: (a great resource for ideas)

iPhone app: ABC Tracing
This app is great! It helps kids get a feel for the formation of letters as they trace along the dotted lines. It shows both upper and lowercase letters as well as a picture to help kids learn the sound it makes.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin

LeapFrog Letter Factory Video. The girls watched this over and over again when they were little and they still remember the catchy song. "The A says /a/...the A says /a/...every letter makes a sound the A says /a/"!