Monday, November 30, 2009

As Heard in Kindergarten ... Prepare to Laugh!

It came to our attention today that a mom in one of the other Kindergarten classes is going to have a baby. To which my friends asked when I was going to have a baby.

Um, not planning on it any time soon.

Serick then informed me that I had already had a baby.

Then our conversation went something like this ...

S: If you have another baby, what will you name him?
Me: Serick. (And, I must brag ... I am rather pleased with myself for that quick response because it was quick. As quick as a wink. As quick as a flash. As quick as ... you get my point.)
S: Serick! Is that because I am the best boy ever?
Me: Insert belly laugh here. Loud belly laugh. It tickled me so.

I thought it was funny. Very funny. Obviously ... I am retelling it here so that I remember it always. But, I dare say it might have actually meant something to Serick.

Because when one of my assistants came in he informed her that "IF Mrs. Townsend would have another baby, but she said there was NO WAY that would happen, but if she did, she said she would name him Serick because I am the best boy ever!"

Scrumptious he is. Absolutely scrumptious.

And, then later in the day I heard Rachel say "My mom is 31. She is really old ..." and when she said that last part she rolled her eyes.

And, in an instant my 41-year-old-self felt, well, ancient.

Last year was hard. On a good day I questioned my career choice. Imagine how I felt on a bad day. Funny, I would take every one of them back again ... I loved them that deeply.

But, this class ... what can I say. They are just something special. They have given me something I didn't think possible. Because of this little class of Littles, last year is slowly being erased away until all I can remember is the joyful times. The good days. They are a gift. And, they have given me a gift.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Why I Did Not Call

I did not call my brother and sisters on Thanksgiving.

It wasn't because I was selfish. Or because I was waiting for them to call. Or because I wasn't thinking of them. The reason I didn't call was because this year I was missing the kids table. A lot.

I spent the last two days baking my fingers to the bone. And, all the while I was wishing you were here.

I drank a lot of cups of coffee. And, wished you were with me. And, I would have even shared my Pumpkin Spice coffee with you.

I pulled out the most glorious looking turkey out of the oven. And, I wished you were here. You would have understood why it pleased me so. And, why I took pictures of it.

I got up early to make the rolls. So early. And, wished you were here. Because as much as I grumbled and rolled my eyes about making them, I secretly delighted in making them for you.

I even watched Star Trek for Ryan and Amanda. And, in this moment you know exactly how much I missed you.

I thought of the kids table. And wondered how old we were when we no longer sat at the kids table. Did we know that last year that it would be our last? If we had would we have cherished it? Probably not. Because we were kids and we were stupid like that.

Remember the table from when we were really little ... when we played host and hostesses to Kim and Kelly? When we would see how many olives we could eat before Mom realized we were sneaking olives? When we would laugh until milk came out our noses?

Remember the Thanksgivings with the Roberts? How we looked forward to that weekend. And, then the year the Bowens came too? Bonus.

Remember Dr. Sherwin's pie? Oh how we laughed when we cut into the special pie and there was wax paper in it. I believe that would also be the time we learned that if you save your calendars for 11 years you can reuse them. Double bonus.

Or, the year of the homeless man? I can't remember him being there. There was always a cast of strange people at our Thanksgiving table. He was not out of the ordinary. Isn't that sad?

This Thanksgiving we were over a thousand miles apart. I knew what you were doing even though I was not with you. Mostly because I was doing the same things. I knew what you were eating. Mostly because I was eating the same things. I knew what you were thankful for. Mostly because I was thankful for similar things. I was (and am) thankful for you ... were you thankful for me too?

And, so this Thanksgiving I did not call. Not because you were not in my heart. Not because I didn't think about you. But because I was missing that kids table too dern much.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

I will admit to my fondness of all things pumpkin. Pumpkin candles. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses. Pumpkin. Pumpkin. Pumpkin.

Our newspaper had an article about the scarcity of canned pumpkin this year. It seems Nestle (maker of the Libby brand) couldn't harvest it's crop because of heavy rains. So, it can and probably will become impossible to find in the coming months.

I read blogs. I had heard about the scarcity of the canned pumpkin. In some areas. Not in Texas it seemed, because good ole' HEB always had canned pumpkin on the shelves. Subconsciously I may or may not have started picking up cans ...

And, I may have single handedly caused the current pumpkin crisis.
Dean came into the kitchen tonight to see this. Oh, yes intervention is needed. Right after I make some pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin pie anyone?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Arabian Nights

Torrey just completed a three-night run of her last middle school musical. This year they performed "Aladdin." It was amazing ... from beginning to end. Last night we were lucky to have front row seats.

Well, actually we were in the front row of chairs ... there were 12 lucky littles in front of us on "magic" carpets. Most of them are in my class ... I opened snacks and waters and answered "how much longer 'til it starts" about 100 times. It felt like a Monday morning. HA! Once it started ... not a peep. Oh, and there were light up wands. But, they told one rule follower they could only turn them on for a certain song and she made sure NO ONE turned them one before. It is good to have at least one rule follower in the group!

I did bring my camera, but I warn you. I tried to turn off the flash. I should have practiced in advance. It wasn't taking the pictures in a fast enough speed and many of them are wonky. I did get a few good ones. I would love to blame the camera ... but, it was probably the operator!

Quick! Go get some coffee ... you are going to need it to make it through this post!
Before the performance, Torrey came out to take pictures with the "golden ticket" holders. This little one could be Torrey's clone ... both in appearance and temperament.

Torrey had two roles ... in the beginning, she was a grocer/townsperson. (She was supposed to have a solo, but everyone wound up saying it because they needed more volume. Her "solo" was actually the word "scoundrel." For two weeks I went around the house trying to get her to say it different ways and verrrrrry long ("scoundrelllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!") so that she could make her solo last longer than it was supposed to. I may have burst into laughter if she had actually said it last night.) She ended the night as a Prince Ali dancer.
During "Arabian Nights," there were 77 kids in the performance and all 77 were on the stage during this number. Can you see our girl?
This was the coolest thing of the night (Torrey's "scoundrel" solo WOULD have been the coolest thing ...). This was when Aladdin tricked the Genie into getting him out of the Cave of Wonders. They built a flying carpet ... see the girl's head at the front? She is the flying carpet (usually she was flip flopping around in her other costume). She poked her head through the foam and the Genie stood in the back and pushed the "carpet" all over the auditorium. It was very cool. (Torrey was a bit miffed they forgot to put the Genie's legs on ... oops!)
Here she is as an Ali Dancer during "Prince Ali." Quite the transformation from the townsperson/grocer!
I will admit that rehearsals took a toll on all of us ... but, to see her up on the stage, so happy, made it all worth it!
Gram was able to come and see her tonight ... she really loved the front row! And, yes, Torrey is at least a foot taller than Gram. She had to lean down to her size!
Zac and Nicole came too. Zac is the middle school pastor at HFBC and his wife Nicole is Torrey's small group leader. I cannot say enough great things about Zac and Nicole. We are so thankful that they were willing to come to something that is important to Torrey. They are building relationships in these kids as they are helping them build a relationship with Christ. There is a reason her youth group is so tight ... and it is because of the relationships that are being built.

They also brought their pumpkin Emmalyn with them ... but she was sleeping and we didn't want to wake her up!
Torrey signed a few autographs. Which totally cracked me up. And, totally thrilled her.

And, then she had me scoot around and take pictures with some of her friends ...
Torrey and the Genie. Let me say this, he was amazing. Paul thought he was a teacher and kind of freaked out when we told him he was in Torrey's grade. Fake muscles, Paul. I am pretty sure he will still be blue on Monday!
Torrey and her friend, Susie. Susie was one of the narrators.
Raja, who is a tiger. I mistakenly called her a lion. Sorry. She is clearly a tiger. And, clearly cute.
Torrey and Iago. Enlarge this picture and look at his eyelashes. Go now. They are actually blue feathers. He was amazing. And, a scene stealer. He made the mistake of doing the Iago voice in class once ... and was given the part because they knew he could do the voice. It was the perfect role for him. I kept forgetting he was an 8th grader and kept thinking he was a bird. He was that good.
There is one in every group. Torrey and the Sultan (aka Jasmine's father). He was very good as well.
Torrey and Jasmine. She was perfect for the role and did a fantastic job.

It was a lot of work. A lot of work. My hat goes off to her drama and music teachers who pulled this off. They took a gang of middle school kids, somehow got them to listen and do what they needed them to do and pulled off a Broadway musical.

And, Torrey ... we are so proud of you! You went to late rehearsal more times than we care to count and still managed to keep up your grades. You were respectful and kind ... even though you were exhausted and wanted to scream. You delighted in the parts that your friends got ... even when their parts were much bigger than yours. You didn't cry when I pulled your hair really hard to get it up into that tight pony tail. You encouraged your friends when they were down. You hit the stage and played your part with all that you had. You never once got out of character ... even when Dillon screamed your name. When it didn't look like Lindsay could come, you were gracious ... knowing that it was out of her control. You have amazed us these past few months and we couldn't be prouder to be your parents!

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You!

We are heading out shortly for the last Aladdin performance. When we get home tonight I will post pictures of the fun. Until then ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Know what I am thankful for tonight?A husband who makes me laugh.

Please pray I don't get into big trouble when he realizes what I have done.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

Tech week. Boo. Hiss. It should be called kill Torrey's parents by causing them to be so exhausted they can't see straight. I can't remember the last time I felt this tired ... oh wait. Yes I do. It was during Torrey's first 3 1/2 years of life and her refusal to sleep during the night. That's right. My child didn't sleep through the night until she was 3 1/2 years old. Bet you got on your knees and said a prayer for me didn't you?

And, does it bring you some measure of comfort to know that even in my near comatose state of mind I am still funny? I know for some of you it is what keeps you coming back.

Anyways, my morning was not stellar. The school took back my overhead projector and gave me a document enhancer. Technology schmecnology. The camera flips everything you put under it upside down, which meant I had to write upside down ... I am good, but I am not that good. And, it had a short in the wire which caused the screen to project a greenish image that would occasionally flip to red.

I will stop here to tell you I teach Kindergarten. So, every time it would flip to red and then back to green I would have a chorus of voices saying to flip it again. Grrr.

We all know that what I wanted to do was throw the thing out the window. I (semi ... OK, not so much) sweetly said "If I knew how to flip it to red I would flip it to the right color" and prayed that it would soon be time to go to Music ... because I needed to pull myself together.

There may or may not have been an incident with someone nearly losing it.

That someone may or may not have been me.

You can decide for yourself.

The day chugged along ... and then I zooped to McDonalds to get Torrey a McFlurry. Or, I should say I TRIED to get Torrey a McFlurry. They were not selling ice cream or shakes. I was too tired to ask "why?" And, even if I did, it would have come out something like this, " FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY NOT? YOU ADVERTISE A MCFLURRY. WHY DON'T YOU HAVE ONE? DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT KIND OF DAY I HAVE HAD? THE DOCUMENT ENHANCER ... WAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"

Sometimes it is good to know when to keep your mouth shut and drive away.

Are we still tired? Oh, yes. Will we get rest soon? I hope so ... so do my Kinderfriends. (They may be staging an intervention in the morning!) But, for now, know how we are making it through the day?Coffee and Cupcakes, my friends! Coffee and Cupcakes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am Mother ... Hear Me ROAR!

My girl. She is pretty amazing. Like no other. She is more grown up acting than most grown ups I know ... me included. She loves God. She loves God a lot. She is willing to stand up for herself without stepping on someone else to prove she is right. She knows what she wants. She knows she has to work hard to get it. She is kind. She is funny. She is hilariously funny. She is a friend. She is a friend to the friendless. She has been someone's dance partner even though she is convinced she is allergic to him. (Oh, I told you she is funny!) She is a healthy eater. Ridiculously healthy. She does her homework without being told she has to do it. She gets straight A's (not easy at her school!) She is practicing for a play until after 10 pm every night this week and still getting up for school in the morning at o'dark thirty. She dreams. She hopes. She is amazing. And, she's my girl.

PS ... Jen, I put this picture up for you. See if you can remember why.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So Thankful it is Saturday!

Happy Saturday to you! I hope yours will be as fun as ours is planned to be. But, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men ....

Here's what we have on the schedule for today ....There will be a little sitting in the yard and just enjoying Houston in the fall. Ya'll it is beautiful out. I have almost forgotten the 110 degrees of the summer ... almost! I have already been out with the dogs this morning. Zoey and I just sat on the little couch and stared at the backyard. Well, I stared. She surveyed her kingdom.
There will be much coffee consumed today. Hopefully from this place. I heart Starbucks. And, a Starbucks coffee drunk from a Christmas cup? Even better!
I will be taking a trip to our local H.E.B. They try to make a trip to the grocery store funner by saying "Here's Everything is Better" ... um, that is not what your store initials stand for. We all know it stands for the name of the founder ... Howard E. Butts. But, you must give it up for their marketing team ... because would you shop in a store with "butts" in the name?

Anyhoo, must go. We have nothing to eat in our house. Nothing at all. I have somehow managed to avoid the grocery store for the past two weeks. Sometimes Torrey being in the play and us being super busy isn't as bad as I think!
I will spend lots of time with this handsome man. And, the $20? Not trying to show off ... we found it and it was a little exciting to us. Some days money does come from heaven!

How will we be spending our day? At the mall (and we all know how much Dean loves the mall on a Saturday!) to get ready for ....
Christmas! This picture is from last year ... we may do things early, but not that early!
And, today we will be missing our girl. Torrey headed out the door early this morning for play practice. Her small group leader at church will be picking her up and taking her and a group of her girlies to a fun day at Kemah and then to a sleepover at her house. We are so thankful for these young ladies who are willing to pour themselves into our girl and at the same time pour into her the love of Jesus ... all the while being cooler than cool. We know she will have a blast!

And, then finally, we will be getting ourselves ready for ...

church tomorrow. Our pastor is leading us through a study of Genesis this year. We are at Noah right now. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Hope your Saturday is full, too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life Lesson in a Fortune Cookie

Today was the culmination of a unit study on Asia in 1st grade. And there was a most delicious feast in the afternoon. And, my peoples hooked me up. There was a fortune cookie, and I actually got a "fortune" that made me go "hmmmm." (Instead of the usual "laugh at what is funny" or some other let's just state the obvious fortune!)

You will learn a great lesson. It will present itself to you subtly.

There is nothing subtle about what has been running through my heart in the past few days. Nothing subtle at all.

It must be said (again) ... I am a teacher. I am paid to care for 16 little ones for 180 days. I am paid to be a part of their life for one year. I am paid to be a part of this season in their life. I am paid to be a part of their story.

And, it is humbling.

And, it must be said, I would do it for free.

A few weeks ago, our Head of School reminded us that we do not know what our students are facing at home. We only know for sure what they face in our classroom. (And, even then we sometimes completely miss it.) And, for some of these kiddos, what they face at home would bring a grown man to his knees.

I teach at a Christian College Prep School. We will pay more for Torrey's 8th grade education than I paid for two years of my college tuition. These are children of privilege. Children who have difficult lives just like any other child on any other street in any other city in our country or any city in the world. Life is just hard.

And, for some of my students, the only way they will hear the name of Jesus is in my classroom. I was teary this week as I heard sweet D. sing "Jesus Loves Me" (over and over and over again in a very loud voice!) ... When he saw me looking at me he proclaimed, "Mrs. Townsend, I love Jesus so much!" You would be teary too if you knew the country his family is from and if you knew that his family is a family who has him at our school for the education and not because it is a Christian school. I hope his family knows that they WILL be Christians ... because their sweet boy already has a heart for Jesus and soaks up every bit of Him like a sponge.

For some of my kiddos, my classroom will be their only soft spot. Their only haven. Their only place where it will be OK to not be perfect. Their only place where grace will be given.

I have been challenged to be a light to these 16. My prayer is that my words would be sweet and my spirit would be gentle ... that they would know how much I love Jesus because of how I loved and treated them. I pray that they would become superstars for Christ ... that they would be the leaders in their classes as they grow ... not because they are great on the ball field, or can sing well, or are super smart ... but, because they love Christ.

I don't know what they go home to ... but, I do know what they come to school to. May it always be a safe spot that draws them closer to you, Jesus!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Should I Go?

I just discovered that "The Pioneer Woman" is coming to Houston. She is the mastermind behind these delicious little gems. Should I go and blog-stalk her in person? Hurry and give your thoughts ...

Just to give you insight into our life that day ... in the morning is the "Christmas Store" (our church's Christmas outreach), we have a wedding to go to at 2:00, and I have a cookie exchange to go to from 3:00-5:00. Oh, and she will be at the book store at 1:00.

I'm thinking I can pull it off!

Monday, November 9, 2009

And aMusing Monday is Born

Day One of my Homework Hiatus is here. And, I actually left school with my purse and my empty coffee cup. It must be said that I felt a bit sinful as I left, but I may or may not have clicked my heels when I got to the car.

And, because of my Homework Hiatus I am able to actually get some things done that I enjoy ... like updating my blog ... and I did some things I did not enjoy ... like walking on the tread climber. Oh how I dislike that thing!

Needless to say, I uploaded some pictures from my camera and I found this little gem ...

While I was at my parents house and waiting for a cup of coffee I spied this on their refrigerator. And laughed myself silly. Only my parents would have a list of "Important Numbers" and have "Alligator Hotline" in the number one spot. My dad tried to tell me they were in alphabetical order ... but, in his alphabetical order world Pasco comes before Mark.

And, while I was uploading pictures I found it. And, grinned. And, missed my parents terribly. I am blessed with parents who love God, each other, us, our spouses, our children ... and who put funny things on their refrigerator to make us laugh.

Go ahead ... upload some pictures tonight. You never know what you'll find!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Balancing Act

Mothers are amazing. We walk a tight rope every day to meet the needs of our families ... all amid raising littles, working full-time jobs, caring for elderly parents, volunteering in the community and church, going to the grocery store.

All without a net.

Lately I have felt like my feet aren't actually on the rope. Rather I am holding on for dear life. And, today it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I need balance in my life.

Because my focus has not been where it needs to be. My attention has been focused solely in one area. All of my attention ... to the point that everything around me is falling apart.

And, so tonight I am giving myself permission to come home from a FULL day of teaching without homework. Because I have been bringing home this or that or the other thing to the point that when I get home I am spending most of my evening finishing this project or that project.

And, before you think I will suddenly become a bad teacher ... for the next two weeks I will not be able to leave school until 6:00 because of play practice. I think an 11 hour day is more than sufficient to complete my work.

So, that is my new goal. To not bring home work ... except for one day a week when I will complete my lesson plans. Pray that I will be able to accomplish this. Hold my feet to the fire. Keep me accountable.

My prayer this week is for balance. Balance. Balance. Balance.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sneak Peek

This one won't make it to the Townsend Christmas card ... but, I wanted to start to post the losers ... and, I'm talking about the pictures not the people IN the pictures, Stephen!