Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Charlaine Harris Books

I've had several people e-mail me about the Charlaine Harris books I started reading this summer. Mostly they asked me if they were worth reading. My answer: absolutely! I think I became a little obsessed with this series. After I finished the last book, I was sad there were no more new stories to read. I loved the stories, I loved the characters, and I loved the plots in each book. I also love the fact that Charlaine Harris is an Arkansan, living in Arkansas, and writing about the South.
Okay, here's the premise of these books. Vampires are real. They have been living in secret for centuries. After a Japanese company created a synthetic blood substitute, TrueBlood, the vampires decided to "come out of the coffin." The stories are set in a small rural town in Louisianna call Bon Temps and focus around a young heroine named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie seems to be a normal young lady, normal except for her disability: she's telepathic. But her telepathy doesn't reach the vampire mind, so being around vampires offers her a new solace in life that she has never had.
The books are often very funny and are really easy to read. The characters are great because Ms. Harris has no limit to the amount of history these people can have. And I love the fact that I've been in a lot of the locations she sets her stories in.
If you get a chance, you should at least read the first book. HBO thought it was good enough to base an entire show on, for three seasons and counting.
My recommendation: read them for fun!

Billy and the Nephews

Wow. I can't believe it's been over two months since I posted something on the blog. That's horrible.
Well, a lot has been going on in the Brown house since September. The boys have become obsessed with a couple of things. Braden has been reading like there's no tomorrow. Actually, he reads because he has to do so, and then gripes and complains about it afterwards, but he's reading! Landon has become the poster child for anything John Deere. He won't wear anything unless it's got the Deere logo or has the green and yellow colors. Not to mention that anytime A&E has a "Billy the Exterminator" marathon on, we have to sit through about three hours of rodent, reptile, and insect removal.
Our family is going to be a little bigger in a few months. My cousin Jami is expecting her first little one the end of May. We can't wait to meet Parker Marie (notice my statement of faith for a little girl there. We've got so many boys!). Congratulations Jami and Greg!
School has been going really well. I have the same issues that all teachers have- discipline with certain students, writing lesson plans, developing materials, having fun with music, etc. I've got what I call Bedlam happening over the next three weeks. I've got four performances coming up the last two weeks before the break, including a full on Christmas concert with one of my schools (grades K-6). Pray for me!
If we can and if the weather is nice, hopefully we'll have a new family picture this weekend. We are going to try to fit that in between decorating the yard for Christmas, shopping, and watching Auburn kick South Carolina in the patooty so Arkansas can go to the Sugar Bowl. Go Auburn! Go Hogs!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Site!

Well, since I've changed school districts, I've had to change my class website. The Batesville School District lets all teacher have the ability to create their own webpage for their class. I've been working on moving my wikispaces website over to the Batesville site. Check it out if you get a chance!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

After School Fun

What's the best thing to do after a fun day of school and an amazing time on the playground in the afternoon?Stop for ice cream, of course!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Game Night at the Browns

My mom and dad recently visited my aunt and uncle in Northwest Arkansas. While they were there, one of the ways they spent some time together was playing dominoes, Chicken Foot to be exact. And not just playing it for small amounts of time, they were playing until 3:00 AM. Yes, I said 3:00 AM! I didn't think my parents had it in them to stay awake that long. Most of the time, they are asleep in the recliners before they even sit down!

Well, needless to say, mom was inspired. She's an educator, and we educators are always looking for new and fun ways for our kids to learn. And since we have two kids at home, what's a more fun way to learn something than hanging out with your super cool dad, way super cool aunt, and lovingly cool grandparents. Well, they are only 6 and 3...

The funny thing is... the adults have taken over the game. Two weekends in a row, I watched my dad stay up until 1:00 AM to finish a game. Who said game night with the family was lame? They've apparently never played Chicken Foot with my family!

***Disclaimer: I do not cheat at Chicken Foot, no matter what my brother says. It's all strategery baby!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The End of the Beginning

Six years ago today, a little fellow came into the world.

His mother loved him with all that she was.

He captured the attention of my little brother and made him become the father figure we all knew he could be.
He took his Nana and wrapped her surreptitiously around the tiny little finger on his hand.

He stole the heart of my parents, probably way faster than either of them would like to admit.

He even melted the cold-heart that I have been accused of having.
Today, this six year old is about to enter first grade, loves anything to do with video games, watches the Disney channel almost religiously, and loves to play basketball.

Who knew that small, beautiful baby boy would become such an awesome little boy and the center of our world six years later?

Happy Birthday Braden!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Blast from the Past...

1980 was full of lots of interesting events.

Mt. St. Helen's erupted. "Airplane" was the number one movie. Michael Jackson released his first single, "Rock With You."

And my baby brother was born. I told my mom and dad to take him back; I wanted a sister. I'm glad they didn't listen!

Happy Birthday Brother!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Landon went to visit his regular doctor this afternoon. Looks like his ear drum is no longer perforated. Dr. O'Brien said it still looked a little distorted, but it was definitely not perforated. Yeah!
In other news, Braden started gymnastics tonight. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I'll have pictures next week!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Pain in the Ear...

Earlier this week, we all noticed Landon had been sniffling a little more than usually. By Friday, he was pulling at his ear. Jonathan and I took him to the clinic to visit with the doctor this morning, thinking he probably had an ear infection, and we found out he might have a perforated ear drum! Poor baby can't play in water until it's healed and has to have the most torturous ear drops put into his ear twice a day for ten days. He's going to his normal doctor on Tuesday (if we can move our appointment up) and then he's been referred to an ear-nose-and-throat doctor as well. Please keep the little guy in your prayers- and Jonathan, especially when he has to put those drops in Landon's ear!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cool in the Pool

I was picking Landon up from his pre-school earlier this week and noticed his teacher had made a cute new photo-collage for the door. On it was this amazing picture of one child, stretched out in a pool wearing sunglasses and laughing. As I looked at it closely, I noticed it was a photo of our own ham of a child. Oh my goodness, does this one have some personality!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A few summer pics...

Here are a few pictures from this summer. I can't believe how quickly this summer has moved!
Between Landon and Braden's schools is a large area that usually has goats of all sizes. Recently we noticed this new addition. Landon has named him Fred.

Braden's been working on his swimming a lot this summer. Nana takes him to the Olympic swimming pool at the country club every weekend; his summer program goes to the Mickey Mouse pool every Friday morning; and it seems that every birthday party we've been to this summer has been at the pool too! He's gotten so good swimming, he doesn't have to wear the life jacket and he's been okayed by the life guards to move into the five foot area. Way to go Braden!

I do try to get the boys to pose for me. Braden will cooperate for about five minutes, as long as the location is precarious and dangerous.

Landon, on the other hand, refuses to pose for anything, or stand still for five seconds for that matter. I'm lucky to come away with the few non-blurry pictures I have of him!

I only wish I had the ability to pull off this fashion statement some days!

Braden attended the basketball camp held by the high school coaches at Southside. He absolutely loved it. Too bad I can't get him to practice his dribbling without a Wii remote in his hand!

And of course, what's the Fourth of July without a little sprinkler action! Hope your summer is going as well as ours!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Total "Eclipse" of the Harry Potter

My Aunt Kay (Team Jacob, by the way) treated me (Team Edward, not to be confused with team Rob) Wednesday afternoon to the latest Twilight movie- Eclipse. It was really good. I enjoyed it a lot for a book-based movie, maybe because it's been about a year since I read the book. There are a few things different in the movie, but nothing that ruined the story or will have to be put back in for the next movie. Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson have both progressed in their characters, and the direction in this one made both their characters more likeable. Remember how much I hated the first movie? Jonathan even saw it today and liked it as well. So guys, it's a pretty good movie for you too. Even though there's a whole lot of wolf-boys without their shirts (yummy eye candy ladies!).

Anyway, the most exciting thing I saw may have been the preview for the final installment of the Harry Potter series. I seriously don't think I breathed for about 90 seconds while it was on. Although it did make me mad when I realized they have broken it into two parts. Part one will be released at Thanksgiving and part two will be released (take a deep breath here because this is the part that made me mad) in JULY 2011. Yes, July. 2011. A long freakin' time. 2011. July.

And since I'm having problems adding/editing images tonight and the boys have water day tomorrow which I need to pack some backpacks and set out the swim gear for, I'm cutting this short. Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm a Nerd!

I was at a workshop today, and the presenter showed this clip. It is a single guy, singing four different parts, paying tribute to John Williams's music and telling the story of Star Wars. I completely loved it!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

I really don't have any fun pictures to share or any fun anecdotes that have happened, but I thought I really should attempt to blog since I've been so bad at it recently.

Summer is getting into a good rhythm. Last week, Braden and I got to spend some quality time together. We pretty much played outside, played the Wii, played at the park, and watched Phineas and Ferb... a lot. We also took a special day and went to the movies, just the two of us, to see "The Prince of Persia." Let me just say that Braden and I absolutely loved this movie! It was like the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" when it came out. So fun!

The boys both go to their summer programs every weekday. Landon is at his pre-school and is having fun every day. This week he is the story helper- not sure what this position does, but he was excited. Every Friday they have "Water Day," which basically means they are playing in water hoses and kiddie pools. This Friday, they do get to go to the Mickey Mouse pool and have fun splashing around in the city pool. How would you like to be in charge of fifty 3, 4, and 5 year olds?

Braden is attending T.R.A.C.K.S. at his school. It's a character building educational summer program that helps bridge the gap during the end of one year and the beginning of the next to help students not loose too much of what the teachers gave them and have fun in the process. He gets to spend the day reading, playing with a lot of the kids from his class, and doing special programs. They get to travel two days a week with this program. This week, they're going to a petting zoo and then a picnic and play time at the river. Sounds kind of fun to me!

As for me and mom, we've been working on creating a bedroom for the boys to share. Since we are all staying in mom and dad's house (my house is basically stripped down to studs in most areas, and Jonathan's work schedule keeps him out at weird hours), the boys really don't have a space of their own. Mom finally decided that she was forgoing her formal living room and turning it into Braden and Landon's room. We've gotten bunk beds, moved all the "adult furniture" out, and started setting up a cool play/bed/activity room for them. They seem really excited about having their own beds, at least until bedtime. For the last nine months or so, they have been sleeping in one of our beds. I guess we're going to have to work hard to get them used to sleeping in their own beds again!

I'm meeting with my new principal tomorrow to go over my staff development plan for the summer and to see one of my new classrooms. I'm really excited about working at Batesville again. The elementaries are set up magnet style- meaning each elementary focuses on certain aspects to allow students a chance to better meet their interests. Eagle Mountain focuses on Health and International/ Multicultural Interests. I can't wait to do all the World Drumming and other programs I've always wanted to do. Central, the other elementary I'll be at, focuses on math and science. I can't wait to start coming up with lesson plans that relate to all the fun subjects these schools can bring. It's going to be fun!

I guess that's all I have to share right now. I really didn't mean to type so much, so I guess I had more going on than I thought I did.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Change is a-comin'

Well, since I haven't posted since the beginning of March (bad blogger!), lots of things have happened. We've had lots of concerts and several graduations, including our own graduate!

First, at the end of April, the band director and I took a couple of our ensembles to Branson to compete in the Music in the Parks series. The band placed second with a good rating, and the Chamber Choir placed fourth with a good rating as well. Which meant we brought home trophies. Yeah us!

The next weekend (what poor planning on our part!) was the 2nd Annual ICC Talent Show. We had fun with over twenty entries in the competition. Congratulations to the winners!

The next Monday, I did something really intense. I interviewed for an elementary position in Batesville. Apparently Helen Musgrave is retiring, so her position at Eagle Mountain and Central will be open for next year. After going through the interview process, I was offered the job and accepted. There were just too many pros and not enough cons to not take this job. So a week later, I resigned at ICC. I was able to prepare a couple of students before I made the announcement, so it wasn't a total shock. However, one of my students recently asked her mother who my sub was going to be until I came back!

On May 24th Braden graduated from Kindergarten. And Landon had his Spring program too. I'm so proud of both of them. Braden even did most of the motions this year, rather than standing there looking mad! Landon, on the other hand, looked scared to death the whole time he was on stage. At one point he even tried to escape.

We've made it to the end of another school year, and am looking forward to relaxing and reading a few books. Braden and I have three days by ourselves this week. Everyone else is in school through Thursday!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Day Gift Wrapped with Tag that Says Love Satan

So, I have had one of the WORST DAYS EVER!

Let's go back a few days, shall we...

Saturday morning, I woke up with a rather sore throat. I thought nothing of it; it is the beginning of the worst part of the allergy season for me, so I just made a note to remember to take my Zyrtec that night. I had gotten up early. I had an appointment at the Ford dealership to replace a turn signal light. Nothing big or dramatic planned for the rest of the day.

As Saturday went on, I started feeling really bad, and noticed my throat kept getting worse... and worse... and worse. I finally broke down and started gargling with warm salt water with a dash of peroxide, to kill all the nasties I knew were growing in my throat. Apparently, it didn't work.
When I awoke Sunday morning to the beautiful trilling of my mother yelling at Landon to get dressed for church, I knew something was not right. My throat was on fire. I could not swallow, nor could I breath through my nose. I felt like I was drowning, and thus began expelling volumes and volumes of mucus, not in a tissue, no that would be the easy, polite way to do it. Since I could swallow, nor do much of anything, I mostly spewed (sorry for the graphic nature of this post!!!) from my mouth any time there was any kind of liquid build up in my mouth. I have never been so miserable in my life.
I had a small bit of a voice left, so I called the secretary at the High School and quietly asked her for a sub for Monday please. She obliged. I went to bed. The plan was for dad to call the doctor's office Monday morning, since there was no way I would be able to be understood on the phone. Dad did so. I went to the doctor, got my diagnosis (Strep throat, of course), got my antibiotics, and was forbidden to go to work Tuesday. Dr. Oliver told me Wednesday would be pushing it. Man, I really should have listened...
Mom called the secretary for me Monday night, because by then, I would have had to use the telephone relay for the deaf in order to speak on the phone. I slept in Tuesday and really felt a whole lot better.
Wednesday morning, I planned to leave early since I had morning duty and hadn't been in my classroom for two days. I leftwell ahead of schedule, not believing my good fortune- what a dupe! As I drove into Melbourne, fifteen minutes from my school, I began having a scratching in my throat. I started looking for a place to pull over, because I didn't want to, for lack of a better word, spew all of the window. I grabbed for my coffee and managed to get the hack attack under control. At least I thought I did.
As I pulled into my parking space at school, I started the cough again. Only this time it's accompanied by the spew! How I managed to get out of my car before the stream began, I have no idea. As I survey the damage, praying there is none on the inside of my car, I realized that everything is out on the asphalt. Everything that is except the small spot about the size of my cell phone on my knee. I think to myself, I can manage that. A little water and a shout wipe, and we're all good.
I began puttering around my room, not used to having about 30 minutes before kids arrive. I should never count my chickens...
7:25 AM
Room's a disaster. Trash and chairs everywhere. Permission forms and t-shirt orders piled up on my desk.
7:40 AM
All's well. Chairs are set up. Computer is on. Piano is ready. Pile is under control.
7:45 AM
Andrew arrives early in class like usual. Since he's in a wheelchair, he likes to avoid high traffic areas. I begin getting ready to head to the cafeteria.
7:48 AM
Kiara walks in with a question about our up-coming field trip. I notice my stomach is doing a few flips. Not the upper digestive, but the lower digestive.
7:49 AM
Stomach still flipping, more insistently now.
7:50 AM
Rather than heading to the cafeteria for duty, I head to the teacher's lounge for the bathroom.
7:51 AM
I arrive at the teacher's lounge bathroom about 10 seconds too late. I will not go into details, but I will say that I will now always carry a change of clothes in my car.
8:02 AM
I walk into the secretary's office. I get her attention. She and several other teachers look at me and I very politely say, Ms. Juanita, I need a sub.
8:30 AM
Ms. Juanita's sister arrives to sub for me. I gather my belongings and head home.
I think the gift wrapping and the bow were just an added insult to the way I was feeling.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Little House on the Prairie

One of my favorite collections of books from my childhood is the "Little House on the Prairie" collection. I can remember reading those for the first time when I was a little girl. And then I can remember watching Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingles on the television series. It was a family affair.

Recently, the national tour of the "Little House on the Prairie- The Musical" has been making the rounds. It was in Memphis at the beginning of December, and mom made the comment she would love to see it. Especially since Melissa Gilbert is playing the role of "Ma."

So, I got two tickets for her and me as a Christmas present. It was kind of a coup! She had no clue I had even remembered she said anything about it. We are staying with my aunt and uncle in Siloam Springs and going to the show Saturday afternoon. (It also gave me a good chance to test out my new car on the highway!)

I really can't wait to see this production. I've only heard good things about it, and I get to see MELISSA GILBERT!!!!