... is a miracle. I found out right before Christmas break that one of my students is dying from cancer. This is my second year having this student. I taught him as a sophomore and now as a senior. This student's story is quite sad. It is just him and his mom. I am not sure about everything but I know that he works after school to help support his mom (pay bills, buy food, etc.). Evidently, he has been sick for the last six months but did not want his mom to worry so he kept it from his mom. He also knew they did not have health insurance. During Thanksgiving break, he was rushed to the ER and had emergency surgery where they removed some of the masses. However, the cancer had spread throughout his whole body. The doctors are not expecting my student to make it to January. He has been accepted into one of the top Cancer Hospitals in the nation. He started chemo the end of last week. All of his teachers, including me, are praying for a miracle. Christmas is always a season of miracles. I just pray that whatever happens it will be for the best.
Before I go to bed tonight, I wanted to post one more post. Today's is my mom's birthday. I wanted to take this time to tell my mom how much I love her. She has always been such a big support to me. She is a very talented lady. (Just ask to look at my wedding dress, she made it herself. Including the pattern.) She is so kind and giving. I don't know how many people who would open their home to teenagers after finally becoming empty nesters. She is a terrific grandmother. My girls adore her. And she is my role model. I wish I could be as Christ-like and giving as she is. I know this is an old picture but it is a good one of her and my girls. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!
We really enjoyed our trip to Arizona. I am glad that Naomi and I had 3 days off so we could spend 4 quality days in Arizona. We had lots of fun and made some great memories. Some of the fun we had were the girls playing in Grandpa's sandbox. Kaylee making up a interesting way of playing chess. The girls going to Show Low to see all of their cousins. It was their cousin Avery's birthday. She just turned 4. (David and I did not go with them that day. David wanted to rest. And I spent the whole day Saturday grading papers. YUCK!!!) I also got to spend time with my best friend. Too bad, I did not take any pictures of her and I. Shanna, guess I have to come back so we can take some pictures of us. All in all we really enjoyed our time. We left early Sunday morning and drove all day back to Texas. It makes for a long day but our girls are terrific travelers!!! Don't know when we will back that way again. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later!! Here are some pictures of some of our fun:
Kaylee in the sandbox Naomi in the sandbox
Kaylee playing her interesting version of chess with David
Grandma and the girls with snow in Show Low
Kaylee with Hendrix
Naomi with Hendrix
L to R: Kaylee, Lillian, Avery, and Naomi. (Kaylee, Lillian, and Avery are all 4)
Since the end of August beginning of September, David and I had been tossing back and forth the idea of going to Safford for Thanksgiving. In David's early feel for who was going to be where for Thanksgiving, we learned that David's sister Lecia was going to travel to Safford for Thanksgiving. Since we thought David's parents were going to be at their place for Thanksgiving, we thought we would surprise his family and show up. We were not sure if we could go but finally we decided to just go for it because David really needed to see his family and I needed a break from the stress at home. However, we got a very startling monkey wrench that Monday night when we found out plans had changed and David's parents were traveling up to Lecia's for Thanksgiving. OH NO!!! Now we did not know if we were going after all and the girls and the car were pretty much packed. Long story short, we had to let the cat out of the bag and tell his parents our plans. His parents kindly rearranged their Thanksgiving plans and decided to stay in Safford so we could come out and visit. So Tuesday right after my last class, we headed off to Arizona. David and I switched off driving throughout the night and we got to Safford early Wednesday morning. We really enjoyed ourselves. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. I made my mom's absolutely scrumptious stuffing. The turkey we brought with us tasted wonderful. (Funny story: David's mom said she would have to buy a turkey. I told her don't worry about it I have a turkey in my freezer outside so we brought it in a cooler with us!!) I made my sweet potato casserole. David's mom made the greenbean casserole. And then of course we had rolls and the relish platter. What a great Thanksgiving!!! And then of course later that night there was the pie.
David helping his Dad stuff the turkey Sitting down to eat
Last night, I was teasing Kaylee and I told her I was going to ship her off to her Aunt Arielle. Right after I said that I got a text from Arielle. The text read "Emmalee would like to be donated to Aunt Katie." I had to laugh that Arielle and I were trying to give each other our children at the same time. Too bad, we live too far apart away from each other that we can't just automatically swap children for a day. Wouldn't it be nice!?!
While we were in Arizona, I started to get very congested in my chest. I was talking to my in-laws and I said that the dust in Arizona was getting to me. Kaylee overheard us talking. And she told my mother-in-law that she (grandma) needed to clean-up Arizona so mommy (I) can come back and visit. So Grandma, you better start cleaning up Arizona. P.S. Kaylee says that if you use soap and water, it will clean all of the dust right up!!!
Our car is getting older. And how it is with all older cars it is has its quirks. One of its odd little quirks is quite interesting. Inside our dash, we have two lights. One lights up the left side of the dash with the speedometer. And the other light works the right side. Well, the light on the right side stopped working about a year or so ago. The interesting phenomenon is that everytime we go on a long distance road trip the light magically works again. And then as soon as we pull into our neighborhood at the end of our trip it stops again. Hmm, how does our car know that we are going long distance and when we get back home. I have a strong feeling that the Lord controls that light for us. Maybe the Lord does have a hand in all things.
Holidays are a time to be thankful and spend time with family. David and I were able to drive to AZ to visit his family. We had a nice Thanksgiving with just his folks. (I'll blog more on that later.) And then on Saturday David's parents took the girls up to Show Low to see David's sister Lecia and her family. David's sister Shawna was there with hers as well. This is the first time that all 9 cousins have been together. I am glad the girls got to spend some time with their AZ cousins.
Our girls have never done the traditional trick or treating. Instead, we go to our church's trunk or treat activity, Zoo Boo, and occassionally Mall-o-ween if Halloween is not on a Sunday. This year was a little bit unusual in that the girls went to Trunk or Treat without us. David and I were supposed to go on a date this past Friday night but our babysitter had to cancel but she was free Saturday. So David and I went on our date Saturday night and the girls went with our babysitter to trunk or treat. We have the absolutely best babysitter. Not only did she bring the girls to trunk or treat but she took pictures of them and then brought them home limited them to 2 pieces of candy and had them in bed (asleep) before we got home. (It will be a sad day when she goes off to college next year. She has been babysitting for us since she was a Freshman.)
On October 27th, Naomi's class went on a field trip to the Oil Ranch in Hockley. We asked Naomi who she wanted to go with her and she wanted me to. So I took the day off work and went with her. I had never been to the Oil Ranch but I enjoyed myself so much that I would like to go sometime as a family. Our day was spent filled with lots of fun activities. Naomi got to milk a cow, ride a pony, play in a hayloft, go on a hay ride to feed some cows, rode a miniature train, picked a pumpkin and lots of other cool stuff. I think my favorite was going on the hay ride. Before we got on the wagon for the hay ride each kid was allowed to get three pieces of cow food. Once we got into the pasture, the cows came right up to the wagon and ate the food right off the kid's hands. It was fun to see the kid's faces when they got slobbered by a cow.
Naomi milking a cow
Naomi riding a pony (she was a little unsure at first because of the height issue)
On our way to feed the cows
Feeding the cows
Naomi saying hi to the cows
Naomi in the hay loft
Learning about indians
Naomi with her pumpkin
Naomi's class (of course the sun was too bright and I did not realize that Naomi is behind a green post. arghh!!)
From about October 12-17th, my dad came in town for a business trip. We were able to spend some time with him. One of the things that we were able to do was go to Zoo Boo with him. We love going to Zoo Boo. (Well, at least I do! I love the zoo.) The girls had an enjoyable time seeing the animals and trick or treating at the treat stations spread around the zoo. The girls also liked picking out pumpkins in the pumpkin patch and then decorating them. I let the girls choose what they wanted to be this year. Naomi wanted to be a black cat. And Kaylee wanted to be a PINK princess, of course!!
The girls all ready to go to Zoo Boo
A picture with the rhino (I am so excited to see the real ones once they open them to the public in December)
Finding the perfect pumpkin
Kaylee in the pumpkin patch
Naomi's perfect pumpkin
Cooling off at the end of a long walk around the zoo
David's turned 36 this year. His birthday date was kind of cool. It was 10-10-10. It was a quiet birthday this year. We invited Jenny, Shane, and Aurora over for dinner and the party. Since David really is not a fan of cake, we had an ice cream cake. David got a lot of clothes from the girls and I. I think his favorite gifts by far was the small basketball hoop that hangs over a door from his parents and then a calendar from the girls and I that has a basketball hoop attached. The girls were really into David's birthday this year. They decorated the mirror for the party. And Naomi wrote a birthday list of what we needed to buy/do to celebrate David's birthday. It was very cute to see the girls get so excited for their Dad's special day. Here are just two of the pictures from that day.
If you look really close the present right up front Naomi wrapped
When Naomi had her sleep-over last month, Kaylee was really bummed. She didn't understand why she could not go too. So I decided, we needed to do something to make staying home without Naomi fun. Kaylee and I decided to have a sleep-over in the family room. Kaylee got really in to it and decided that she wanted a camp out. We set up the girls play tent and found Kaylee's sleeping bag. Kaylee wanted to have a fire outside her tent, but I convinced her that having a fire in the middle of the family room was not a very smart idea. I did, however, buy her some yummy strawberry marshmallows. Kaylee and I had a lot of fun. I think she would not mind Naomi being gone again.
Kaylee eating her marshmallows and watching a movie
On a Friday (or Saturday) night from September to December, you can usually find our family sitting in the bleachers watching my high school's football game. Since I teach mostly seniors, the majority of my students are on some varsity sport or other. I enjoy going to the football games every week and seeing my students (football players, cheerleaders, brigade members, band, and drill team) show off their talents. And my students love to know that I am there in the stands supporting them. Every week my students ask if I am going to the game that week. A couple weeks ago, I happened to be sitting two rows back from our bench. It was neat to see the smile on my football players faces when the realized that I had come to watch them play. Here are a few pictures of David and the girls from this season.
Kaylee decided that David needed to wear her ears and she needed to wear his hat
Today on the way home from school, Naomi and I got into a discussion about David and Goliath. Naomi wanted to know if Goliath being a giant was fact or fiction. She asked if Goliath was a real giant or was he just wearing stilts. Boy, this child is always analyzing and pondering the deeper meaning of things.
This past Friday, Naomi had her first birthday/slumber party. I was a little nervous because this was the first time that she would be spending the night with someone other than family. She did really great!! She did have a little trouble getting to sleep and was a little homesick around 11pm that night. Her mom's friend called me so Naomi could talk to me; however, my phone was on vibrate and I left it by Kaylee's bed. Needless to say I did not hear the phone. Oh well, she ended up falling asleep and was glad she stayed the whole time. I sent a disposable camera with her to take pictures but I have not developed them yet. It will be interesting to see what the pictures look like. Here are some pictures her friend's mom took.
Through our ward, we were given free tickets to see the Astro's play on Sept. 11th. This was Naomi's second time going to a baseball game and Kaylee's first. The girls did pretty well. (They prefer football more.) However, we really enjoyed the time spent as a family.
Naomi and Kaylee sitting on a baseball out in front of Minute Maid
Back in beginning of September, Naomi's school had grandparents lunch. Since both sets of Grandparents live out of state, I asked them if they could send letters to Naomi for me to put in her lunchbox. I actually took the day off and went and had lunch with her. She loved reading her letters for lunch. And of course, she loved having her mom come eat lunch with her. Thank you to both sets of grandparents for sending her letters.
Kaylee: Her favorite dance move in ballet is the "souffle"
Naomi: On the way home one day, she told us that there are dust "barnacles" floating in the air that can get stuck in our noses
Kaylee: Naomi was getting ready to mail a letter. David went to get some stamps for her. Kaylee did not want to be left out and wanted stamps too. A couple seconds later, Kaylee came back with one of my scrapbooking stamps and said here is my stamp momma.
Kaylee: I came home from work today and Kaylee was in the process of falling asleep on the couch. I picked her up and brought her with me so she could wake up. Kaylee looked at me and told me she was tired and needed her "beauty sleep".
Kaylee: Tonight at dinner, Kaylee commented "looks good baby!" about the lasagna.
My girls have always had difficulty falling asleep. Some said that I just needed a good routine and eventually they would go to sleep at a decent time. However, we had a good routine and they still could not fall asleep. This truly was not a surprise to me because I have the same problem. I have extreme difficulty falling asleep especially during the school year. I don't necessarily suffer from insomnia. Simply my brain just won't shut off. For example: This week I have been suffering from a really bad cold. One would think that being as sick as I am I should have no problem falling asleep. Nope, I was up till 1 am this morning thinking about who knows what but my brain just would not shut off. This past summer the girls stayed with my parents. After the first few weeks of trying to get my girls to bed, my sister-in-law gave my parents something to try. It is an herbal supplement called Nite MGR. And let me tell you it works miracles. My parents used it all summer and told me how easily the girls were going to bed. Since the girls have been home, David and I give it to the girls every night. And it truly is a miracle. The girls are usually asleep between 8/8:30 every evening. What a blessing!!!!! Thank you Mandi and John for telling Mom and Dad about this!!! (Now I am seriously considering taking some myself.)
The last couple of years, Kaylee has loved the color blue. I don't know if that is because I would put her in blue and Naomi in pink but she loved the color. Over the summer she has changed her preference, she now loves pink. It took me by surprise during one of our phone conversations this summer when I told her I bought something purple for her and pink for Naomi and she started to cry because she wanted the pink one. Everyday this week, she has worn at least one thing pink. Just in case you were wondering, she still loves Little Mermaid!!!
Every year as part of my class, my students get to set up and maintain a fish tank. Every year, I get to play the mean parent and reign my students in from their grandiose ideas for their tanks!! This year is no exception. My students are like kids in a candy store. I have lost track of how many times I have had to say NO!! (i.e. No piranhas, No sea horses, No sharks, No octopus, No electric eel, No lionfish). And then I have students that want a bigger tank than what I have to offer and so they want to bring tanks in from home. I even have some students that are buying their own fish tank to bring to class. I had to put a stop to this because pretty soon I will have nothing but fish tanks in my classroom and no place for my students to sit!!! And then you should see all the things they want to decorate their tank with. Updates will definitely be following of how many tanks I finally end up having, fish they end up buying, and of course pics of the tanks. ;o)