Monday, June 1, 2015

Ode to Caren

So I have this friend, let's call her Caren. I have known her for a long while now. I can remember bringing a meal to her small, hot apartment on the campus of Cranbrook when her son, G, was born. That was probably 9 years ago, or so.

Anyway, my friend has taught me so much over the past few years. I was never in a small group with her. I don't think we have ever met for coffee or anything like that either. BUT,  she has taught me through her actions.

This introverted, mother-of-4, has shown me what it's like to pine for God. I see it as she prepares to do something that is outside of her comfort zone (i.e. teach in front of church). I see it when she is homeschooling her children (needing her alone time for breathes of air). I see it in her home--revolving doors awaiting those who need to be loved on.

Sadly for us, she is moving away. Which isn't like she's dead or something! But, the face that I have taken for granted for so many years, is leaving our space.

I stopped over to drop a load of hand-me-downs for her youngest. I wanted it to be this big thing, where I say all my mushy, gushy stuff about how much I deeply respect her as a woman of God, a mama, and a wife. God told me to buy her coffee, help her pack, and tell her all this stuff. But, I chickened out. I didn't want to cry. So instead, I handed her 2 bags of clothes (so she couldn't hug me back) and raced away.

Even as I chickened out, she taught me. When asked "How are you doing though all this craziness?", she replied with, "God is giving me my daily bread. I want Him to give me my Costco-sized portion, but daily, I get just what I need."

That's Caren.

Boston is incredibly lucky to be gaining such an amazing woman, really, an amazing family.

Here's to Costco-sized portions of blessings, Caren!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stephanie's Master Plan

Welp, I did it. I finished my first semester of grad school. I had 2 classes and got a 97% and a 98%. I had one bummer class that had a student who plagiarized (who was not yet--maybe never will be---punished). I also had an amazing class with the kind of prof you would pay to learn from. I guess, the way grad school should be?

3 classes this summer from Jun 29-Aug 10.

3 more classes in the fall.

3 more yet in the spring.

And 1 final one in the summer of 2016.

This doesn't seem like a lot. My program only requires 35-37 credits. Eric did his masters in Political Science and the requirements were 60 credits!

My program is extremely specific. I will be a Reading Specialist. I will be able to teach reading to children from kindergarten to 12th grade. That's it though.

What I love about it: I CAN TEACH KIDS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD! READING!  So, it is not wide ranging, but it is deeply important.

Next summer I will begin looking for full (or part) time work teaching English, Communications, or as a Reading Specialist. Keep your ears open for me!

This should be an interesting next year or so for me and my family. Sometimes I can't believe that I am doing this. I mean, am I crazy? Like I don't have enough on my plate. Yet, I am strangely happy. I am gaining confidence that my brain still can work after all these years! I think this is a good step for me. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Let It Go Teacher Style

Eric and I had a snow (cold) day today. We went out to breakfast and worked on school stuff. For real, my father-in-law watched the boys and the baby went to day care. We worked at the local library for about 5 hours on school stuff. Well, we worked on this first.

Based on Frozen's popular song, but starting half way through it.
Included is beginning part for those of you (like me) who need a cue

My phone glows white with my apps tonight,
Mobile weather on my screen.
Feeling anticipation, of the whiteness to be seen  (Thanks Monica!)

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in;
Heaven knows I've tried

Don't let them in,
don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel,
don't let them know
Well now they know

Let it snow, let it snow
Or at least get really cold
Let it snow, let it snow
Let it pile up past my car door

I've stayed up
All week grading exams
Let the storm rage on
Let's just call it a comp day

It's funny how some people
Think teachers just slack off
All of your tax dollars
Being eaten at the trough

It's time to see what we really do
To teach your kids, your neighbors too
So when snow falls, don't gripe at me

Let it snow, let it snow
I'm one with the weather guy
Let it snow, let it snow
You'll never see me cry

Here I stand
Still in my robe
Let the snow still fall

My teaching flurries from the mind into their hearts
Science, math, social studies, even the fine arts
Inspiring lesson that will forever last
Tomorrow I'll be back,
Refreshed to teach my class

Let it snow, let it snow
I'll check quizzes all day long
Let it snow, let it snow
This stack is never gone

Here we stand
Thankful for what we do
Without a good teacher
Then I'd have to read this shit to you

Happy Snow Day!

If some of you teacher's out there want to work on the beginning portions, send me what you got! It looks like we will have tomorrow to work on it as well. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creativity Breeds Messiness

Everyone I know needs a hobby. You know the one rejuvenated by working out? Going to work? Painting? Mine is food crafts.

When we only had 1 child, or even 2, being creative was a release. I would sew and craft and be happy. Now...not so much. Really the only time I get to be creative in a relaxing way is during the holidays. Well, I should say any holiday except Christmas. My husband, very wisely, recommended I actually enjoy the holiday as opposed to stressing over the hand-made presents like years in the past.

That brings us to Valentine's Day. For the past few weeks, the boys and I have perused Pinterest in our spare minutes. We have chosen cute cards for the classes and cute treats to bring in for parties.

Yes, I am the mom who stalks the email so I can sign up for the treats or fruit!

I buy all the supplies, including the 12.99 watermelon. Pinterest neglected to remind me that watermelon is totally out of season and will cost a billion dollars. We print all required materials. Eric sits down and helps them with their names. It's awesome!

*A little note that 1 class set was finished this morning so we were a lil' late to school.*

But then it's my turn. The food craft, nay, food ART. This is where I get to be creative. I covet the sprinkles and melted chocolate. I find such joy in slicing fruit to look pretty. Putting it together just makes me happy.

Then I go to school.

"Where do you find the time?!"

"Let's see what you brought this time."

"How much time to you spend on these?"

"Why did you sign up for watermelon hearts!!"

Because I am crafty. Because I am crazy. 
Because I am probably a bit masochistic. Because I want to. 

I often feel like I have to justify and say, "Come look at my house! It's super messy and crazy because I have neglected it in order to play with food." I don't want people to think I live this life of perfection. We are broken and messy, but we have redemption and creativity to save us.

So maybe I can be a little proud of my creations without feeling bad. My children love it when we do it together. They love being part of the creativity. They love feeling special. And I like to make them feel this way, so if a 12.99 watermelon and some heart cookie cutters are gonna do it, I'm all in.

The Lego ones say "We were built to be together"

Obligatory messy kitchen pic. It was super clean before I started to work on these!

P.S. I'll tell you my secret, I don't think of these fun things on my own. I copy a ton of stuff from Pinterest! Most of Valentine stuff has a printable sheet too!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Unsolicited Anecdotal Hippy Dippy Advice

Unsolicited Anecdotal Advice:
Brought to you by Olive Leaf Extract

Before you judge me, call me some hippy-dippy-root-eating weirdo (although that's true), listen to my story. 

We got the flu in December. Judah got it first and he had it for 6 days! Each of the other boys dropped like flies (except 1); me and my husband got it too. Thankfully, it was before Christmas and thankfully, we learned about this crazy little supplement. 

Whenever we get sick, our first go-to is our chiropractor. We want to help our body fight sickness as naturally as much as possible. Midweek, I headed up there with 2 sick kids and 1 sick mama. My chiropractor suggested taking some of Olive Leaf Extract (OLE). It was from the maker Premier Research Lab, who we had worked closely with when we were dealing with Elijah's gut issues. So, I didn't really hesitate to grab it and give it a try. All we had were the capsules, but I put it in smoothies for the boys and made Eric and I take them. 

No joke, Eric's flu lasted 15 hours. Judah's had lasted SIX DAYS! The difference was that OLE. 

Manny was the only one who didn't get sick and I seriously credit it to his taking the OLE as a preventative. (I mean, any time one kid gets something, it usually dominoes through the whole family.) 

For additional evidence, I submit to you my best friend's family (who also has 4 kids). They got the flu and used OLE. There flu was cut down to less than 12 hours. She just used it with a bug that went through her house last week and experienced the same thing!

Anyway, I don't sell this stuff or anything, so it truly is a Public Service Announcement. I think there is some research about OLE being anti-viral, which is an amazing feat. 

 Below is what we use and how we use it. 

Liquid Essential Oil Form:

The bottle says 40 drops mixed in a shot of juice. 
For the kids, we use 20-30 drops. 

The bottle says 3 times per day

Capsule Form:
Open the capsules and put it in smoothies
Or, just take it orally like a normal pill
The bottle says 3 times per day 


Find it and take it the minute you get sick! 
You can find the homeopathic kind or something
like Zicam, which is over the counter. 

The packages say every 3 hours. 

If you are local, you can find this stuff at NutraFoods in Royal Oak or at the Natural Food Patch in Ferndale.

**Disclaimer** I am not a doctor. Ask your doctor if you are concerned, although for real, I think that ingesting part of an olive plant would be the most benign thing you could possibly take. If it makes you feel worse, don't be an idiot. Stop taking it. Read the packages too. Also, like I said, this is anecdotal. Take at your own risk. If you are anything like me though, you will try anything once. :)