Sunday, August 28, 2011

So. Stressed. Out.

So, remember how I said that fall used to be my favorite season? Well, this post will give a little insight into why my preference changed.

Tomorrow, I begin the 2011-2012 school year. Luckily, I don't have to teach yet, as my first two days are professional development days and the other 1/2 day I teach is all Kindergarten classes, who don't show up until next week. But...the schedule begins.

I have been realizing that I have been rather nasty to my husband and first son the last 24 hours. Once I realized this, I realized how very stressed out I was...and how very tired. This is my processing post for that.

My oldest just turned 4 (FOUR!! I have a longer a baby, or even a toddler...a grown-up-going-to-school-BOY!) and this past weekend we had a huge birthday party for him. I didn't really feel that stressed about it, except for during it (I hate hosting parties), and I think it went rather well. But, today I am really quite tired. I think the baby is too. He is very social and did very well, but was pretty tuckered out last night and today. He's already on his 3rd nap. It's 2:45pm.

Speaking of the baby, I am pretty anxious to leave Isaac. I've been trying to convince myself that I have to accept as good enough that he will be safe and secure and taken care of, even if he is unhappy while I'm gone. See, he is a momma's boy through and through. I think all baby's are at this age, but it just makes it especially hard for me because he's miserable, and then I assume whoever is taking care of him while I'm gone is miserable as well (because I sure would be miserable with a crying baby for hours on end!) and I feel doubly guilty. I know Isaac will adapt and all will be well soon enough, but I sure am gonna fight feeling bad all the time. I need lots of prayer. And Isaac and Jon and our babysitters will need lots of prayer too.

You may think I'm being melodramatic? But you have not been here while this baby screams for an hour or so at a time. And is exhausted and DOESN'T sleep and then screams some more. He's stopped doing that in general, but still tends to do it when I'm not around. I kid you not, the child is 3 months old, will look around a room, notice I'm not there, and commence tantrum. 3 MONTHS OLD.

But I digress.

So that's stressful. Then, there's the whole, you know, getting my butt back in gear for teaching. I'm very excited, actually, because I love my job...but it's always a stressful beginning getting everything together and getting in to organize and decorate your room and get your manipulatives and charts in place and lessons refined. And on top of that, our school's open house is this coming thursday. Our district decided to do those lovely nights right away. While I agree with the principle of this, it is a bit stressful to prepare everything I want to say in one of the two times I have a captive audience of all parents in the school to advocate for my program, describe my curriculum, and present a friendly face while giving legitimacy to my position. I have been performing my whole life and these types of things are the scariest to me...maybe because it's just me being myself up there instead of inhabiting a character. So, if the parents don't like me or I mess up, it's because I may be a moron. :)

See why I don't like fall so much anymore? Lots of stressful things happen. Good things, some. But stressful things because there are so many changes.

Here's what I like about fall: (I need to remind myself of the good)

- crisp air with sunshine

- everything to do with pumpkins! carving, baking, the colors, the scents

- apple picking with friends

- the local fair (although this is less fun with little kids in tow in my opinion...more expensive and you realize how dirty and unsafe things are)

- bold bright colors outside

- making warm comfort food again (soups! stews! homemade mac-n-cheese! mmmmmm....)

- anticipation for holidays

- rearranging furniture and knick knacks around the house (Yes, I do this about every season. I have a problem.)

(this is literally how I think of rooms...I was almost an architect. Love this kind of stuff.)

- the beginning of school.

I do love to see the kids again and share in the excitement of beginning a new year. And the challenge of refining my teaching craft...each year is a fresh start to try to do a little better than before.

K. Not so stressed out anymore. The baby is sleeping in my arms, my parents are here to help out for a few days, and Jeremiah is happily listening to music from my dad's computer. The hurricane didn't get us, and life is so blessed. Over and out.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My M.M.ed program is 3 years long...more specifically, 3 summers long. Last summer was the first.

Because of my son's recent birth, I took this summer "off" and will therefore be using next summer as my 2nd summer of my M.M.ed program.

But...this program offers "Workshop Week" where well-known music educators from around the country (and/or world) come to present about their specialties. This year, I decided to finally see and work with John Feierabend, who has become recognized as one of the leading authorities in music education of the last few decades. I have been using his approach in my classroom for years, and appreciate how straight-forward it all is. I enjoyed his workshop tremendously, and hope to hear him again sometime.

I took his workshop for credit toward my masters (so I was technically still working towards it). to receive full credit, I had to submit a paper of my thoughts on the workshop, its relevancy to my teaching, etc. Here's a snippet:

"Throughout the workshop, Dr. Feierabend emphasized the importance of sequencing the learning from aural to reading to writing. He taught that in previous decades, music education had focused either too much on the intellectual side of music, the “about” part of music such as notation and rhythm values, finger placement on instruments and theory, or on the intrinsic value of music - art for arts’ sake. He suggests that by focusing on hearing the music first, one can appreciate what goes on “below the surface”, and thereby teach the intrinsic values of music alongside the extrinsic. His is an approach focused on aural immersion, with reading and writing secondary, although still important. He suggested that by focusing on hearing the music well, the students would learn to make music well. As educators, it is our job to teach them using good music and teach them to make good music - and then teach them to read and write that music as means to remember it. Dr. Feierabend suggests that we teach notation as a means to remember good art, not as a means to itself."

I am not the best writer in the world, but it has been fun to review what I learned and figure out how I'm going to apply it to my teaching. I am trying to be a better teacher! I will not be defeated! :)

But seriously...if you are interested in music education at all (or even music), it would be worth your time to hear John Feierabend. If you ever have the chance, take it! He's pretty funny as well...kindof a dark, dry sense of humor. The kind that shocks some people who think that he's serious at first? Here's an example:

Background: Dr. Feierabend is describing a folk dance festival that is done at his house every year. He and whoever else would like to play jigs and reels by ear for the others to dance to. He is speaking to a woman who insists on reading music while playing her tuba.

(speaking to the woman): "Ok, but the rest of us are going to be playing by are certainly welcome to use notation, but that's not being very musical, you know."

(then speaking to us, the students)", what a loser, right?" then gives a subtle little half grin and feigns shock when a fellow workshop student looks at him cross-eyed.

I loved every minute. It was enjoyable and educational and inspiring.

And teaching begins August 29.

Friday, August 12, 2011

a child's prayer

the scene: bedtime, around 7:45pm.

Jeremiah: "I want to pray!"

me: "Ok, go ahead."

Jeremiah: "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for your love for us, and thank you for this day. Please bless the wall. Please bless the fan. Please bless the door. And please bless my table. And please bless Meemaw and Grandpa and Uncle Matt. Please bless Uncle Tim and Aunt Katie and Baby Andrew. And please bless Mommy and Isaac. And please bless this food. Oops, I mean, please bless my piggy bank. In Jesus' name, Aaaaa-men!"

Thursday, August 04, 2011

best. drink. ever.

Hello my friends!

I don't think I have ever had a post about any food or drink...but this is too good to not write about.

I give you...the Dark-n-Stormy.

Oh. my. garsh. So good. Tangy, yet sweet. Bubbly, yet flavorful. You've got to try it. Go. Get the ingredients and mix it up and enjoy.

Jon and I first discovered these last summer (before I was pregnant, don't worry!)...I can't remember how. And, I can't believe I forgot about them until now (probably the 9 months of no-alcohol recently).

But never again! Oh, Dark-n-Stormy, never again will I forget your goodness. Your gingery, smooth, dark rum concoction of love.

What did I tell you? Go now!

( need Black Seal Dark Rum and Ginger Beer and mix to your liking.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A list: "I think..." second son is HUGE! I thought he would be generally a little smaller than Jer, since he was over a pound less than him when born. But he is catching up fast! first son is HUGE! He is going to be 4 in 21 days. How did this happen? He looks like a schoolkid and says things like "sure, Mom" and has chores. Good thing he still lets me kiss his not-so-chubby cheeks. is really sad that summer is almost over. I mean, we still have about 1/3 of it to go, but we're really all thinking it's almost over, right? I hate that. I read on another blog that August is like a maid, that comes and starts sweeping the dusty summer floors, and wiping down coffee tables, and straightening up closets in preparation for fall.

...Fall is great. It used to be my favorite season, and still is a close runner-up, but I think that was before I was ingratiated into the working world. Fall is wicked busy when you're a teacher. Not that I'm complaining, just that summer is definitely superior to me in so many ways now. Even though it's hot. Which reminds me...

...that people who complain about the hot weather in summertime need to check their brains at the door, because we get about 2 months of good summer weather every year, and how many months of winter?! How often is it cold here?! too often, I say. Enjoy the blistering heat - have a margarita and stay inside in your precious air conditioning, but don't try to take my joy away at it actually being a hot summer day in New England. Natural heat is good! Wear those tank tops, flip flops, and cut off jeans, go jump in the still-freezing atlantic ocean, and stop complaining!

...that I get a little over-sensitive sometimes. Sorry.

...that my projects around the house are finally starting to get done, because Isaac is finally starting to take longer naps while Jeremiah is at preschool!

...that instead of doing projects around the house, I should be cleaning the said house. Oh well. We don't have people over that much anyway. Plus... mom and dad are coming soon! Which means that she will clean for me! (I appreciate her for way more than this, but this is a big one. My mom rocks.)

...I need to find a new voice teacher. I know of a couple, but need to do some research and make some calls.

...I need to start going into my classroom to get it ready. Oh summer, where hast thou gone?