Tuesday, December 15, 2009


These are pictures of my handy dandy needles!
And my fun burnt orange yarn...soon to be a full blown scarf!

Thanks to my friend, Whitney, I have picked up the art of knitting! Having picked up a new hobby, of course, I am not great at it but I'm definitely making progress.

The knitting process is lengthy, but rewarding. I see the work I have completed at the end of the day and take note of the progress. I can see from start to present what a change I have made. At first, I dropped stitches and there a several mess-ups, but over time, the knits become tighter and more "professional" looking. Sure, mistakes will be made, but I know that in the end, I'll be so excited about the scarf! =)

Recognizing the time that goes into knitting and precision it takes to do so well makes me think of the love God has for us. Psalm 139 hits the spot! "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." -Psalm 139: 13 and 14 How incredible it is to know that the Lord God himself knit you in your mother's womb! The precision and caution He used in creating you the very way He intended for you to be, it's so awe-inspiring! I read that and realize that the Lord knit us knowing how He wanted us to be in the end, sure there may be some imperfections, but He made us that way and He is perfect. We are perfect in His sight.

The next time I begin knitting and get frustrated, wanting to give up, I must remember the length at which God knit me in my mother's womb--not once has He given up on me! =)

Friday, November 20, 2009


How sad is it that I went outside to run (even though I DESPISE running) and I couldn't even run ONE mile without stopping!?! What is wrong with me? I was 2/3rds of the way in and I got a stitch...an awful one; I tried to jog and it pretty much impaled me from even doing that. Therefore, I have decided that I will do my best to at least run one mile three times a week. If I can't run a mile now, I'm going to be able to soon! =)

While having coffee with a friend, I realized that I often compare my spiritual journey with that of physical exercise and nutrition. Once you get in the habit of doing something good...like running and reading scripture daily, life is good! But that ONE time you don't do it, the devil takes a hold of it and lets you know how good life is without it; e.g., without running, I have more time to do this or that, I needed to rest anyway, I'll pick it back up next week...next week never comes. And the same with reading God's Word. Eh, I'd rather sleep that extra 15 minutes, I'll do it later. I'll really try next week.

I hate to say it, because I do it too, but I think that's a slap in the face! Reading God's Word is something that makes us stronger, we grow in the Lord, He speaks to us during that time; how can I possibly say, "you know, Lord, I appreciate everything you did for me on the cross and I truly do want to meet with you today, but I'll hit the snooze a few more times." Yikes. I do that. All the time. I'm not willing to let the Lord speak to me through His Word.

In the same way, I'm not willing to run or get in shape. I want to. I see the need to do it. But I choose not to. I know the benefits of it, but I'd rather do what I want to do.

--The Lord uses His daily Word to speak to us. Maybe the Lord will speak to me while I'm running or working out. You never know, and I'm not going to put limits on the way the Lord moves.

I think I'm just tired of pushing away the things that I KNOW are beneficial for my everyday life. I'm saying all this so that other people know what I'm struggling with and know that I'm trying to fix it! =) I will read and I will run. It's gonna be good. I need physical and spiritual exercise: reading His Word and running allow me to get both of the things I need!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Great is His LOVE!

The precious blood of Jesus Christ redeems
Forgiven I'm alive restored set free
Your majesty resides inside of me
Forever I believe
Forever I believe
Arrested by Your truth and righteousness
Your grace has overwhelmed my brokenness
Convicted by Your spirit led by Your word
Your love will never fail
Your love will never fail

I know You gave
The word Your only Son for us
To know Your name
To live within the Savior's love
He took my place
Knowing He'd be crucified
And You loved
You loved a people undeserving

This song "To Know Your Name," by Hillsong touches the strings of my heart! I cannot express the joy I have in listening to the beautiful lyrics of this song.

I am arrested by His truth and righteousness! What a beautiful thing to be arrested to, rather than my sin and iniquities?! Daily, His grace overwhelms my brokenness and I can only praise Him for loving me the way He does! He knew that He would be crucified before stepping foot on this earth, yet He lived a perfect life and gave it up for an undeserving sinner like myself. What a beautiful conviction. It rips me to shreds to attempt to understand such a love. My love for my husband will forever be trumped by the love of my Heavenly Father! And don't let me steer you wrong, I LOVE my husband! And I know he loves me too! To know that someone could love me in such a way to give up His son for me, that is truly baffling! How could I stand here and realize what He has done and not be in awe of His love? Shame on us for forgetting what the death on the cross really meant for us: LIFE and life to the FULLEST!

My prayer is that this song would continue to move us toward a life of pure, reverential worship of and to the Lord.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Classroom Management

Math Blog #5

Classroom management in Mrs. Sanders first grade class is a little difficult during her math time. The students are antsy after lunch and look forward to recess afterward; therefore, it is difficult for Mrs. Sanders to keep all students truly engaged in the lessons. To call on students during math time, Mrs. Sanders pulls sticks out of a mug and calls on the picked student. She also has students constantly move from their desks to the carpet because the students are in need of some time to be active.

Because her math period is rather lengthy, Mrs. Sanders has her students use the restroom after calendar time. The break up during the math time has benefits: the students are able to be active, Mrs. Sanders is given the opportunity to make sure that all things are lined up for her succeeding math lesson, and students are given time to ask any questions he/she may have from previous day's lessons, etc.

The math lesson itself is generally one in which is given straight from the textbook the students have at their desks. Mrs. Sanders will give them example problems before going to the book, and the students will have time to explore the given problems, and the class will reconvene to discover the different answers the students got. From there, Mrs. Sanders will have the students get out their math books and do the corresponding pages.

The thing I have noticed in her class is that she does utilize one of the talk moves that we have discussed in class: wait time. She allots time during the lesson for students to sit and think after solving the problem. I truly enjoy seeing this in Mrs. Sanders' class, because I can truly see the students' thoughts whirling around in their heads! It's such an exciting time for me because I can see the students processing their thoughts and spitting them out for the class to hear.

Math in Mrs. Sanders' class is a whirlwind of activity; be it through calendar time, Mad Minutes, or the lesson...all of the students are busy doing something. They may not be on task at all times, but Mrs. Sanders does make sure that all students are learning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Talk Moves and Productive Talk

Math Blog #4

Before your observation:

1. Pick 2 of the 5 talk moves that Chapin introduces in Chapter 5 to observe and practice in your placement. Write a brief paragraph about what moves you have picked and why you have chosen to work on them. (1 paragraph)

--Wait time

Both of these talk moves are used in my placement classroom and I see that they are effective, but not in all circumstances. The role talk moves play in the classroom is a vital one in which students are really given the opportunity to either agree or disagree with another person's thought process and answer. Wait time is what I call "think time." It is truly a valuable time in which students gather their thought process and put it into words. If students are not given this opportunity, many will feel too embarrassed to put forth a contribution in the classroom. I believe that revoicing allows the teacher the opportunity to truly comprehend what the student is thinking and how they got their answer. This clears up any confusion between the teacher and the student, but also with the class.

If you are teaching or leading a small group :

2. Describe how you plan to implement the talk moves. Then describe how it went. Provide an example or two. Did anything happen that was unexpected? What would you do differently next time? (2 paragraphs)

During my small group lesson, I plan on presenting a word problem and asking the students to solve it. Upon the students answers, I will ask each student what they got as their answer, then I will revoice their answer--so as to check for my own understanding of the student's thought process. I will offer each student time to think about their answer and how they arrived there. Because this is something that they are comfortable with doing, it should be no problem for them to handle in the small group atmosphere.

When I presented the two word problems, my students were quick to ask questions. I was curious as to why there were doing that, simply because I knew that during our daily math warm-up, Mrs. Sanders gives the students a word problem similar to the ones I gave them.

"Jeremy has 6 cookies. He wants to share his cookies with his two friends, but he also wants to keep some for himself. How many cookies does each person get?" partitive division

"Jackie and Rachel love shopping. After going to the mall, they spent $5.50. They had $7.25 left. How much money did they start out with?" separate start unknown

I printed each of these questions out for my students and had them staple it in their notebooks. I instructed the students to highlight or circle the numbers they find in the problem, then they were to underline the question. This allowed them to solely look at the "important" information in the problem. I gave each student roughly five minutes to solve the problem and instructed them to represent the problem in two different formats. Mrs. Sanders asks the students to do this with their warm-up problem as well. After asking one student to show me her answer, she looked rather confused at her explanation on her paper; however, I tried revoicing what she told me. She simply looked at me, looked back at her paper, and then finally said, "I mean, I meant that you don't know how much they brought with them to the mall. That's what I need to figure out." By my revoicing of her "answer," she realized that she didn't set up the problem correctly and therefore couldn't answer the question correctly. After that, I read both questions again and offered the students several minutes to complete the problems. I asked another student how he would solve the first one. I gave him some wait time to gather his thoughts. After almost 10 seconds, he explained to the group that he had to draw out three friends and divided the six cookies between them. I was so excited when this occurred because he usually doesn't want to answer during our math time--I believe that the wait time and the smaller group facilitated his talking to the group.

If I were to do this differently, I would give the students different options for numbers to plug in. Rather than 2 friends, the students can choose from 3 or 4--depending on their level of comfort with manipulating numbers. I would also have given the students fake money--Mrs. Sanders didn't have any with her and I didn't think to bring in any. By bringing more manipulatives, it would have been easier for the students to see monetary value and the like.

I was thrilled that each student had the time to correctly answer each question and felt comfortable enough to express their own opinions regarding both word problems.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Key to Domesticity

It's all in a day's work.

Some days I feel super wife-ish. Other days, not so much. But today is a super wife-ish day! I am making homemade gravy with biscuits and bacon. Maybe some eggs in there, too. Tyler has this super huge engineering exam and I want him to know that I support him and love him and want him to do well on this thing! I've posted little notes everywhere and cannot wait until I make him breakfast and send him off for a wonderful 9 hour test. (Prayers are truly appreciated!)

In doing this preparation, I have come to the conclusion that as a woman, I am wired this way. I desire to show him how I care and how I feel through baking or crafting or something of that nature. Weird, I know. It's like the Lord gave me some maternal instinct or an "insta-wife" button. Seeing as how before we got married, I didn't really feel prepared to be a wife. Of course, there are still things that I need to work on (and there always will be!). But it's neat to see how the Lord has prepared me to take these responsibilities and enjoyments on! No longer do I see making dinner a "task," rather I find joy in doing it--MOST days!

I praise the Lord for being good and providing me with the energy and desire to serve my husband daily! I have realized that when I wake up in the morning, I not only think about myself anymore. I think about Tyler and the ways that I can make his week easier. It's really quite fun, because I can see him trying to do the same for me! =) Marriage has really shown me how selfish I can be and how grateful I am for my husband and for the everlasting love I receive from the Lord. How crazy is it that I had to learn about my selfish ways by being married?! The Lord has put up with that for how long now?! Regardless, I am glad that he has taught me this, and it's a continual work in progress.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Teacher Worries

Well, I know that I'm not suppose to worry for the Lord tells us not to and we are to cast all of our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

I'm having some issues with that. Not with the verse. But with the fact that I can say that I can cast it all on Him, but then the actual act of doing so is tremendously difficult!

As of late, Cohort K has been receiving our placements for next semester. Most girls already know where they will be and it's somewhat stressful not knowing yet. I have had experience with PK-1st grade, and now I'm looking to be with the older students so that I can test the waters and see what age group the Lord wants me to be with in the future. I requested 3rd grade. I understand that it is a TAKS grade. I just want experience, to stick my feet in the water. I don't know how it will turn out. Heck, this could show me that I am meant to be with the babies...kindergarten. I don't know.

Not many 3rd grade teachers want a student teacher because it IS a TAKS grade. However, I did find one...and she's pregnant. She's due in mid-March. She wants a student teacher and I want to be in her classroom. If we get approval, then I could possibly stay with the class by myself and get paid for it! Which doesn't sound like a bad idea. If that were to happen, I could also be considered being a long-term substitute by the district if she chooses not to come back after she has her baby.

I daily check my emails to see if I have received more information about being approved or not.

Looking this over, I sound like a fool. Maybe this is something that I want so badly that I'm shoving aside what the Lord has for me. Is He trying to tell me something? Am I just that stubborn that I don't want to truly hear from God? I want to cast this on Him, but I also selfishly want to know where I will be next semester and who I'll be with so that I can meet the students and indicate to the teacher that I'm serious about this. I know that He is in control of all things. I know that He is Lord of my life. I know that He has a plan and will for me. Now, if I could only find a peace in that and rely on the truth that He has lavished upon me.

I trust in Him.
I know that He is sovereign.
I don't want to worry or stress about where I'll be next semester, for I know that He is in control.

This just in: I WILL be in a 3rd grade classroom this coming semester! The Lord took care of everything and I'm so grateful for Sheri Crossett! Man...now, I need to get my booty in gear for older kids lessons and centers and the like! =)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crazy Mixed Up Numbers!

Math Blog #3: Understanding a Student’s Number Sense

• Today, I worked with Michael and Luis (referred to as Student A and B) during centers. We played this game called "Crazy Mixed Up Numbers." I gave both students a ten-frame and took them from the classroom and into the 1st and 2nd grade pod. The counters were already on the table and both students instantly began playing with the counters.

Mrs. Sanders had told me that Student A was very low in mathematics; whereas, Student B is quiet but she thinks he's got it going on in mathematics. I did not know what to expect when working with these students for I haven't really worked with them one-on-one before; however, I had assumed that the students would not have any difficulty working with the lower numbers and representing them on the ten-frame. Numbers above six or so, I imagined they would have difficulties.

Both students have seen ten-frames before, and they are accustomed to seeing them in their math books and on the Landmark and Benchmark tests. Therefore, I didn't feel that this activity would be too foreign for them to fully comprehend.

I began the activity by asking them if they had ever seen a ten-frame before. Student A said yes, but B didn't say anything at all. I explained that when we use ten-frames, we begin on the top left and count all the way to five and then back to the bottom left and begin with six. They seemed to comprehend the set up of the ten-frame.

The first number I said was four. The boys responded by putting a marker on the fourth box, not filling it in or anything. The next number I stated was six. Again, the students merely put one marker on the corresponding box. When I looked down, each student had two markers (one in the "4" box and the other in the "6" box) on their ten-frame. I do not know if this case was due to the fact that they didn't understand what I was asking of them or if they just didn't grasp the concept yet. I asked them how many I needed from four to get to six. Both had to count each square in the ten-frame to know that six is two more than four.

I then decided that I should demonstrate what my ten-frame would look like if our number was seven. I asked them to do the same. Student A began looking over at my ten-frame, as well as Student B's. He seemed baffled by the idea that either of us would fully fill in our ten-frames to represent a number, rather than just placing a counter on the said box.

I asked the students to show me what fourteen would look like on a ten-frame. At that point, Student A wiped off his board and then counted out all fourteen markers and dumped them on his ten-frame. Student B began where he left off (at seven) and counted on to fourteen. Rather than dumping the rest that didn't have a box on the ten-frame onto the table, Student B scooted four counters over in the last four boxes and made room for each counter. The last four boxes contained two counters each. I asked Student B why he decided to represent it in such a way and he just shrugged and said, "There wasn't enough room. I had to make room." I also participated in this ten-frame and showed them my way of doing it. I told them that they were correct in counting out all fourteen counters; however, I asked them how many boxes were in a ten-frame. Both students cleared off their boards and began to count each square until they answered 10. With that, I asked them how many fourteen was away from ten. Both students stared at me. I asked them to pull out fourteen counters again and fill each square and count the counters they have left over. Student B stated that he had four more than ten. Student A still tried putting all the counters on the one ten-frame I had given him.

The students surprised me in many ways, but I did learn a lot about number sense in the first grade.

• Student A, throughout the lesson, tried to speak for Student B. Honestly, he kept playing with the counters and trying to stand on his chair. I didn't realize that he had such a difficult time focusing on one activity. Often times, I noticed that he would begin counting, look over at Student B's ten-frame, and then seem to forget what he was doing. I continually had to ask him what number he was trying to represent because he just kept putting the counters all over the ten-frame. Student A needs help with basic number sense because he can count correctly, but he has a tendency to rush things and mess up. There were a few times that I had to slow him down and ask him specifically how many markers did he have on the ten-frame. To count one and two more, Student A had recognize where the first number ended on the ten-frame and compare it to where the second one ended on the ten-frame. This was extremely difficult for him to do because he couldn't remember what the first number was once I asked him to represent a new number to me.

• Student B, with some prodding, can do this. He is a smart student, but both my CT and I believe that he has some learning difficulties. Student B has the ability to count on and he has a basic number sense. He can correctly identify more than, but struggles with the concept of "less than." (However, both students did.) When I asked the students to represent six and then three, both students had to wipe off the boards completely and then count on three from zero. Seeing that made me realize that subtraction is difficult for both boys. Student B did not understand that six minus three is three. His number sense is magnificent with adding, yet deficient in subtracting. With more practice, Student B can correctly work with ten-frames. Student B merely needs more one-on-one attention throughout the school day. He is struggling in other subject areas, and there 17 other students my CT is monitoring.

Student B also needs some practice with oral activities. He can correctly represent numbers on the ten-frame, but was hesitant to orally explain how he came up with his answer. When I would ask him questions, he would squirm in his seat or look to Student A for help--Student A would then try to speak for him. I am suspicious that this has been happening for a while now for Student B. Maybe he is not confident in his speech or explanations and then lets other students speak for him.

• Why is it that in the beginning of the activity, the students both only placed one marker on the corresponding ten-frame place? Did I explain the activity correctly? Do they struggle with number sense? I find it interesting they did this because once they continued on with the activity, both students seemed to better represent numbers on the ten-frame.

Although they have seen the ten-frames on tests and the like, both students need a better understanding of a ten-frame. On a test the class took, the question asked, "How many are there?" and it showed two ten-frames put together and the students had to circle the answer with the correct number represented. I found this to be very easy for the students, simply because they merely counted the squares with markers in them. Aside from that, the students need exposure to ten-frames.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kickin' It!

Things I want to do:

1. Decorate Tyler a killer birthday cake! I'm thinking a grill...he wants a new grill, I can't buy him a grill. So a grill cake will have to do!

I made his cake...it was a darn good one, if I do say so myself. After all, it was my first one, so I'm impressed with myself. I will have to post pictures once I upload them. =)

2. Learn to knit! One day, I want to knit a cardigan...but a cool looking cardigan.

3. Get better. I'm still not feeling well...boo!

In fact, I'm still feeling a little under the weather, but Tyler is now feeling bad! Prayers are much needed, especially since he will be having interviews for full time jobs! Yay! Praise the Lord!

4. Stay on top of school stuff! Hahahaha, I don't know if I'm writing this so much as a joke or maybe to motivate myself to actually do it! Hopefully the latter. =)

5. Get in the Word! For sure. This is something I ALWAYS want to do!

6. Make some "fall" themed cards and send them to others! I have always wanted to do, but I saw on the Jo-Ann website a template for a really cute one...so I may just have to do it!

More to come...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Observation: Mathematics

* I am at Hillcrest Elementary School, with Mrs. Sanders in 1st grade. Her classroom is very warm and established, you can tell that she has been teaching for some time now. She constantly has the students move from one place to the other, knowing that 1st Graders need any opportunity to move and stretch. It is such a joy to take part in the classroom; the school, upon entering is very student oriented with their artwork on the walls and in the ceiling. The school has a neat feel to it. Different awards, posters, parent information, and the like fills the walls. Generally, the school is fairly noisy, but not so much so that it is out of hand. The adults always say, "Good morning," to anyone that is passing by and gently reprimand the students that are not doing what they are told.

* During math in Mrs. Sanders class, she begins the period with a warm-up word problem on the overhead. She'll read the question once or twice and have the students represent the problem in two ways: through drawings and a math sentence. I love the way she does this because it allows students to do the math their own way, but also recognize that a number sentence is something that is relatively "universally" understood. She and I will walk around the room and ask students to show us how they decided to represent the problem. She'll then ask the class what they got at the answer and ask them how they decided to do it. Once this is over, they will pull out a number chart to 100 and unifix cubes. Each day, Mrs. Sanders will tell the students to cover certain numbers. For example: Cover the numbers between 54 and 62, cover the odd numbers from 3 to 17, etc. She will give them a couple of minutes to complete this and then she'll put up her overhead number chart. Mrs. Sanders will pull sticks with students' names on them and say a number and ask the student if the number is suppose to be covered or not. She'll ask the class to give her a thumbs up or thumbs down if it is covered. Both of these activities keep the students engaged and actively thinking. After the overhead work, Mrs. Sanders has the students go to the carpet for calendar time. Each week, one student is in charge of leading calendar time. Mrs. Sanders has the class spell the month of the year, sing a days of the week song, followed by a months of the year song. The students then tell each other what the day of the week it is, followed by the number date. The most tricky thing for them being adding number sticks for the number of days they have been in school. Mrs. Sanders continues to draws sticks so as to choose students equally. After that, the student will go up to the number chart on the wall and pick a number. The students will have to say the number that goes before or after the picked number. Several numbers will be picked until the calendar leader will pick two numbers and the class will have to select the number that goes in between the two numbers. This part of carpet time allows students to draw on math terms that will be useful for everyday life. After calendar time, Mrs. Sanders calls them back to their desks. Today, she introduced the concept of subtraction to them by comparing. When the students went to their workbook pages, there are two sets of objects. For example, the students had to match up the number of birds to bird nests and find out which object has more or less and compare the two sets. In my opinion, this is a difficult way of teaching subtraction because the students continually wanted to add both the sets rather than compare the two and count what is left over. Most students grasped the concept of "more than" but not "fewer." They felt comfortable enough to ask questions; so I grabbed two different colored dots; 3 yellow and 2 red. I then instructed them to compare; so I wrote "3 yellow dots" and "2 red dots." We compared them as a class. "Which one has the most? The least? How many less red dots are there than yellow dots?" I think this helped the students grasp the concept a little better to do it again as a class. This objective requires a small amount of reflective thought, simply due to the fact that most students can simply count the number of birds and bird nests and compare.

* To be honest, when it came down to the actual math lesson, the students struggled and most shut down. Most of their concerns were expressed in frustration, with an "I can't do this" attitude. Comparisons are difficult for students to grasp. The workbook the students are using give examples, but the students couldn't really understand the examples. While Mrs. Sanders and I walked around the room, most students had to have us continually showing them how to do these types of problems.

* Because of the difficulty of this lesson of comparisons in regards to subtraction, most students were capable of showing which grouping had more than the other; however, the idea of something having "fewer" objects than the other grouping was demanding for them. As educators, how can we effectively teach this method through another avenue? Why was it so strenuous for students to calculate problems in such a way? Based on the differences and dynamics in the classroom, how many different ways should a teacher present a problem or mathematical concept?

* Extra credit: Comparisons within the CGI Problem Types are difficult for students; however, I believe that if the students were given multiple ways of approaching this problem, they would feel more successful while learning this concept. As an educator, I should show my students that they can think of multiple forms of solving this problem. Thinking of subtraction as "think-addition" may be helpful for this comparison concept.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Math Life Story

I would love to tell you that I am and always have been in love with mathematics; however, I cannot lie. My love for math began to take a turn for the worst in 7th Grade…up until middle school, I loved math! My teachers made us learn using multiple ways to solve problems; this truly allowed me to find my own way of learning and I feel that all teachers should do this. I learned with manipulatives, addition/subtraction sentences, my hands, calculators (in high school), songs, and games. When I was in elementary school, my second grade teacher pulled my parents aside and told them to pull me out of my school and to put me in a Montessori school. At Bill J. Elliott Elementary School we only learned by doing worksheets; my teacher felt that this wasn’t the place for me. She, Mrs. Weigel, didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough. So, my parents began the enrollment process for me to attend Daggett Montessori School.

I remember doing many things there and I loved them all! I was able to learn kinesthetically and I excelled at it. I learned multiplication and division in the second half of 2nd grade and in 3rd grade also. We held math competitions between the classes, learned dances and songs for different mathematical properties and rules. I truly enjoyed it all! We even learned probability by gambling; it was amazing.

When I entered middle school, I looked forward to taking different math classes…however, I got stuck in a rut: worksheets and bookwork. Suddenly, the fun was sucked right out of my math work. Sure, math was always a struggle, but in elementary school, it was a struggle I enjoyed overcoming. In middle school, it became drudgery. Night after night, monotonous skill and drill sheets were assigned to us for homework and each night, I remember complaining to my parents.

Then, I started 7th grade…it was a miserable year for me. My math teacher, Mr. Newman, was both my teacher and my basketball coach. I loved basketball, but I don’t think Mr. Newman liked me very much. I cannot remember what we were learning at the time, but I was having difficulty with it and so I remember walking up to his desk and asking him for help. Rather than him trying to help me, he told me to go ask the people I sat with; the problem being that nobody else knew what to do either. Mr. Newman would rather play cards or shoot hoops with some of the boys in our class rather than correctly educate us. Quite frankly, this frustrated me. My parents noticed a change in me that year; I didn’t come home excited to pull out my math homework, because no matter how hard I worked, I would end up crying because I couldn’t understand it. I would shut down in class and I ended up not liking Mr. Newman at all, and one day, I let him know how I felt. I was fed up with him flirting with the girls in our class that would wear low cut shirts and giving them good grades. After that, I did not do well in math. He let it be known to me that he controlled my grades. He even showed me that he controlled my playing time on the basketball court.

After middle school, I was glad to be in high school where I feel like I learned much more than I had in the past two years. I took geometry and algebra 2, and finally calculus. It wasn’t a painless 3 years of high school math, but I did learn a lot; however, the majority of it came from the teacher teaching only one way to find an answer, and there I did struggle some.

When I came to college, I realized that I had to take some more math classes, but I actually did enjoy them. I now look forward to having my own classroom and teaching them how to add and subtract, allowing them to use whatever method works for them. I think that is what I learned and valued the most: using your own method to find an answer leaves room for growth and exploration. Everyone needs that.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Game Day

Today is Game Daaaaaay! It has finally arrived; we've been waiting ALL summer for this event!

Hook 'em Horns!

Arrive Early
Be Loud
Stay Late
Wear Orange

Monday, August 31, 2009

Waterfall Pictures!

So, I have a FEW photos ready from our waterfall trip! I apologize for them being so blurry; however, it is a waterproof camera...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nuestra Luna De Miel en la Luperon Beach Resort

I kept a journal of all the happenings on our Honeymoon...the disasters, the beautiful scenery, and our exciting adventures!

Day 1: 8.15.09
We're on our way to San Antonio to begin our Honeymoon! We have several things planned for our trip and I can't wait to see EVERYTHING!

Disaster #1—Flat Tire

While on the freeway from Austin to San Antonio we begin to hear a funny noise in the car. Tyler begins messing with the mirrors to see if it’s something with our tires – yep! The back left tire had a leak, so we pulled over & tried to fix it. Tyler worked so hard & he FINALLY got the lug nuts off…freaking Firestone, with their electronic tightening stuff. So, he puts the spare on only to find out that it’s low. We went to the nearest gas station to fill it; eventually, we did get back on the road! Praise the Lord for keeping us safe through the whole situation.

In San Antonio, we met up with Tyler’s family. We chatted & hung out until midnight…not a smart idea since we have a 6am flight in the morning. =)

Day 2: 8.16.09
Wow—early morning! 3:20am came sooner than I had anticipated. The drive from Spring Branch (where we stayed) to the airport car parking isn’t too far away & we end up getting there at 4:45. So, we’re making good time! Eagerly awaiting the 5am shuttle, we rush in once the gate opens so that we can catch our 6am flight to DFW Airport.

Disaster #2—Late Airport Arrival

We arrive to check in for our flight at 5:35am. I don’t really know how that’s possible since we left at 5:10 from the parking lot. Ridiculous. Tyler & I wait in line for FOREVER, only to be told by the lady at the counter that we are too late. “I don’t know what to tell you; I can’t check your bags for this flight because you are too let for international check-in.” Tyler & I look at each other & he tells her, “well, we’ve paid for this trip. We are going. Is there another flight that we could catch & our bags will make it to the Dominican?” Luckily there was a flight at 6:15am—but the lady was ridiculous & acted as if there were NO other options for us.

So, we catch the 6:15 flight; a short layover in DFW…then our flight to Miami. Fly to Miami, get there safely. Eat lunch there because we ate breakfast at 4am! The layover in Miami is kinda long, ~3.5 hours.

Finally we board the flight to Santo Domingo!!! As we fly in, we get delayed because the coordination of flights coming in has screwed up the gate system. So we wait…but we are here & super excited!

Waiting for our luggage takes FOREVER. I have quickly learned that this is a laid back culture. They put ONE BAG on the belt at a time! I have never waited so long for luggage in my entire life! 50 minutes later, we get our bags. Off to Alamo / National to pick up our rental car!

As we wait for our car, I call the resort to tell them that we made it but will be late. Seeing as how our flight was delayed, the luggage took forever, & we receive the car, it is pitch black outside & raining. We tell the man with the rental car where we’re headed—Luperon. He tells us we have a long drive ahead of us & Juan (aka Cookie Monster) drives us to the main road—which takes forever. (The entire time, I’m freaking out in the backseat because 1. I don’t know this man, 2. I don’t know this country, & 3. The driving is RIDICULOUS!) I could not watch him drive because he was absolutely crazy. In essence, we should have incurred a MILLION driving disasters, but thankfully the Lord kept us safe! We pay Juan (way too much, of course, because we are young Americans on our Honeymoon, & we just landed in the DR). =)

Driving here is nuts! I can never tell Tyler how to drive again! Hahaha!

After driving for 3 hours, we arrive in Puerto Plata. We search for a road that will take us to Luperon along the ocean. There isn’t one that we can find. We call the resort & ask for directions—“head to Imbert & it’ll bring you here.” We drive around for what seemed like an hour or more & see a Brugal sign (tiny as ALL get out!) to Luperon. We have called the resort about 4 times & we eventually get on the right path!

There are very few street signs here & that bugs me to no end.

We finally make it to the resort by 1:30am! Yay!! We have been up for almost 24 hours on 3 hours of sleep; we couldn’t be more exhausted, but the resort is awesome!

Day #3: 8.17.09

This morning we wake up at 10am (which is conveniently when breakfast ends), we realize that we haven’t eaten since 11am on Sunday…& it’s Monday. We eagerly await lunch at 12:30pm! So we explore the resort & all that it has to offer, simply amazing! Pools, flamingoes, peacocks, water sports, beautiful flowers, etc.

We talk to people at the resort & find out that Tyler needs pants for the restaurant so we decide to go into town & find some. We find him some “Havana Republic” khakis with a belt; we only paid 375 pesos for them! =)

Also, there are vendors on the resort beach. We bought a DR photo book & some vanilla cigars. Originally the vendor, Dominic, wanted $80 & we talked him down to $40. Still, it is a rip off—but I am SUPER excited about making our photo album!

Today, we went kayaking—I know I’ll be extremely sore tomorrow but it was a blast! As I was trying to get on the beach, a wave came & completely wiped me out! Everyone laughed, & I did too, but it did hurt a ton.

Dinner at the buffet & afterwards, we were going to play Bingo—instead kids are doing singing & dance-alongs. It’s so cute! Adults are then up on the stage & they begin to dance. Tyler & I get pulled up to play a game. The guys gives ups 6 instructions & if we don’t follow them correctly we are knocked out. Some old lady from England gets knocked out first, then Tyler, & then me. There were 5 of us up there, it was a lot of fun!

There was reported to be a tropical storm on the south side of the island—thankfully we only got a ton of rain. The rain brought the “animacion” show to the piano lounge—The Blues Brothers! It was so funny & we had a great time!

Day #4: 8.18.09

I wake up this morning & there is a CRAB in the bathroom! Tyler saves the day by scooping the crab up in our ice bucket & a plate we had in the room! =)

After breakfast, we take a horseback ride with a guide—it was so beautiful! I hade a great time! The Lord is amazing! He did a wonderful job with the lush scenery, beach, mountains, flowers, etc. WOW! There are so many beautiful sights to see here.

We snorkeled today & it was really hard for me—Tyler is good at it, naturally. It’s totally mental. The idea of breathing under water freaks me out. We lay out on the beach for a while & read.

Ater we get cleaned up, Tyler & I venture about 5 minutes away from the resort & find Playa Grande. There were a few great sights to see: an abandoned discotheque, a fun beach, & cliffs! We decided that we were going to come back to climb the rocks, but today we walked on the beach & plenty of pictures were taken in & around the disco!

After dinner, we went to what we thought would be a show—it ended up being karaoke! There were some crazy people who had been drinking way too much! But it was so funny to hear everyone!

Day #5: 8.19.09

Zip lining! What an incredible adventure! We got to see so many amazing sights & it is ranked the #1 thing to do in the Dominican Republic! So, we did it!

I have never seen so many trees & flowers atop huge mountains in my life. Tyler & I took several pictures & Tyler even videoed himself zip lining down!

We drove for an hour & a half to get there, with many small towns that we drove through & neat shops!

Once we finished, Tyler road with our guide on his motorbike to get our car. All trip long we have been hoping or the opportunity to ride a motorcycle & finally Tyler got to do it!

We made it back just in time for lunch at the resort. Afterwards, it was time for a siesta! –That is something that I love about this culture! =) After our nap, Tyler & I went to the beach, laid out, & then created our first sand castle.

We washed up & went to bachata lessons that the resort offers—Ashley Sanchez & Brittany Ward, y’all should be SO proud! Tyler was given the “Dominican Massage” where 2 male instructors put him between them & shook their hips from side to side while a female instructor grabbed his booty! It was quite hilarious & then he began to move his hips!

After the dance lessons, we went back to Playa Grande & climbed a few cliffs & explored the area—we took beautiful pictures, found a fossilized shell, & had a good time watching the tide come int.

Dinner at the resort was good & then we went to watch the show at the resort: Moulin Rouge. What we saw was really good, but super loud!

So far, everything has been truly incredible! We have had a wonderful time here.

Day #6: 8.20.09

Holy snaps; the 27 Charcos was the most amazing thing we have ever done! We only did 12 because of the rain, but it made our adventure that much more intense & exciting!

Our guide, Nino, was a BEAST—he said that his nickname is La Machina, totally fitting!

We hiked ~20 minutes to the first waterfall & then kept going to the 12th. The Lord handcrafted a glorious work in the Dominican!

I can’t fully explain what it was like to jump/slide down the waterfalls, but with my fear of heights, the first one was scary—but completely awesome! I realized that we were getting more brave with the progression of each waterfall.

Nino scaled a wall of cliffs—it was then that Tyler developed his man crush. There were times that I could not climb up the waterfall because the water was so strong, so Nino just curled me with one hand up a waterfall. Intense!

I think my favorite jump was off the cliff & down into a canyon—it was about a 15-20 foot fall. What a thrill! My favorite slide was this really curvy one—it naturally curved 2 times before shooting you out about 5 feet & then down into the water!

Tyler’s favorite jump was the BIGGEST one—a clear 30 foot drop; it was amazing! His favorite slide was a short straight slide with an 8 foot shoot into the water! It was an incredible slide!

I felt super pathetic when Nino would jump down after Tyler & I would do & he’d swim all the way to the next waterfall before I could even swim to where I could stand.

Nino was & is a machine! Along the path a vendor was set up. Tyler tried haggling with him. We bought a wrap for me, & I like it!

We made it back just in time for lunch & now we are lounging in the room because we are completely exhausted!

After our nap, laying out, & getting ready—we headed off to dinner. It was the BEST meal EVER. Mexican buffet: delicious guacamole & salsa. The ice cream, caramel flavor, & cinnamon pears were delectable! Tyler dipped his churros in the cinnamon sauce—so yummy! So now, here I sit, overeaten without anywhere to work it off because it is pouring outside! We are on the path of Hurricane Bill, right where it is suppose to turn north & head to the states…prayerfully it continues down that path! We have only been hit with high winds & heavy rain.

Praise the Lord for everything! He has been good to us!

Tonight, instead of a show we just played games with the “animacion” team. There was this adult game we watched: 4 different balloon popping positions! Wow…it was definitely a game that I have never seen before! Afterward, we went up & danced—it was so much fun! After doing a line dance, we get in a circle & dance with our partner in the middle, one couple at a time. It was Tyler & I’s turn & we had decided to do a flip! It totally worked & Tyler didn’t drop me! Afterward, people came up to us & compliments us! We dubbed it the Texas Flip since so many people there called us “Texas.” =)

All in all, it was an absolutely great day!

Day #7: 8.21.09

This morning, we attempted to take windsurfing lessons; however, there was no wind—so we decided to goof around in the ocean. We met a local, his name is Kevin. He was super nice & rode waves with us. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t really met many (if any) white people because after we were done riding waves, he took a picture of both of us & then one with each one of us. It was fun & he was nice; he invited us to go to the disco in Luperon—however, we knew we weren’t going to go into town to pay for a disco when we had one that we already paid for at the resort.

After laying out for a while, we went to lunch & then went into Puerto Plata. Everywhere in this place we have seen Brugal sings, so we decided to find out what the buzz was: Brugal Rum. We went to the factory & took a tour. It was really interesting because I never knew how rum was made. Tyler LOVES taking tours of any kind, so he had a great time!

After our tour, we ventured around Puerto Plata & found a market. Tyler is really good at haggling! It is something the Lord didn’t bless me with though…

So we were thinking about our trip to the resort: what a miracle it was that we made it there with one tank of gas! It was definitely the Lord’s way of taking car of us! We tracked how much gas it takes us to get to Hwy 5: almost a quarter of a tank. It was a 30 minute drive. So, how then could we have made a 5 hour drive with a quarter of tank left in the car? The Lord totally provided for us!

Day #8: 8.22.09

After eating breakfast we went off to Puerto Plata! We took a cable car to Mount Isabella—it was truly beautiful! The air was so cool, the flowers & trees were incredible, & my wonderful husband with me to see it all! We took so many pictures & had a great time.

We came back to the resort for lunch & now we are relaxing because it’s terribly hot here.

The show last night was probably the best one eve! It was a parody of old songs—my favorite was “Had the Time of My Life (& I owe it all to you…).” My 2 favorite dancers danced together & one guy was dressed up as a girl! Oh, it was hilarious! I wonder what tonight’s show will be?!

Tonight, we went to the A La Carte Restaurant instead of the buffet. It was Brazilian…yummy! Multiple meats, potato, rice, & dessert; needless to say, I’m stuffed. After dinner Tyler & I went for a walk…as we normally do after dinner. He took me to a place at the resort & we danced to his ipod—super sweet! On top of that, when we went to get ready for dinner, he put flowers on my towel & set up a plate with a note, my rings, & flowers—again, amazingly sweet! I’m truly blessed to be married to such a wonderful, God fearing man!

Day #9: 8.23.09

This morning, we packed up for Santo Domingo. We decided that we were going to stay in Santo Domingo since we are flying out of there. Plus, this time…it was daylight, & it was beautiful! Santo Domingo is very Americanized compared to all the other cities & towns here! Driving here…yikes. We stopped at a light, it was both red & green. What in the world does this mean?!

We arrived in Santo Domingo in only 3 hours & 15 minutes. =) When we checked into our room, we changed & then walked around by the Caribbean Ocean. We decided to eat at the restaurant close to the hotel. It was a fun place with parrots around the restaurant & seating over the ocean! Beautiful.

Day #10: 8.24.09

Flying home…took forever! We had a 7 hour layover in Miami…I finished a book & Tyler registered for classes. We were productive with our layovers! I got to see Mom & Dad during our DFW layover.

We flew into San Antonio & eventually made it back to Austin by 1:30am!

Home Sweet Home!

PS-Pictures are SOON to follow!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer...my mini vaca!

Well, being in Houston with Tyler has caused me to reevaluate things, create "me" time, and finish up thank you notes! Since I'm here in a hotel with no car, there are days that I waste by doing absolutely nothing-Mom would not be proud. But I have been buckling down with the thank you notes and have been getting into the Word, so it's not all bad. But I'm realizing just how much I need and yearn to be around people. Interact. Laugh. Love. Encourage. I have learned that I desire to fellowship with others! =) Even though I know that because of my personality, but never to this degree.

I do have plenty of time to sit and be quiet. I need that. I didn't realize how much I could learn from being still and listening to the Lord. I am finally allowing Him to speak, and I can truly listen! It's incredible.

Some scripture that has been brought to my attention is found in Revelation. Tyler and I went out to eat with some friends and the mother of the house pulled me aside for a second and shared this with me:
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Revelation 2:4-5

At first, these verses blew past me. I didn't at all consider how I could apply this to my own life. I was slapped in the face with it. Mrs. Caldwell said that she and her husband pray verse 4 over each other and their own lives. It's easy in the first couple of months of marriage to find things about the other person that you don't like and want to change. In reality, it's easier to argue with each other about them or get mad at your spouse, but like verse 4 says that "You have forsaken your first love." You must remember why you first loved them. You can't let something so minute take away the love you have for your spouse or for the Lord!

When we get mad at life, be it our spouse or something the Lord has placed before us, do not forget your first love. Do not forget what made you love the Lord and your spouse.

Tyler and I have the opportunity to lead a Sunday School class together and I couldn't be more excited! I am so pumped to see how the Lord will use us together! =)