Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

At dinner the other night Sarah told us that the dinosaurs were on the ark which prompted a very good conversation that went something like this:

Sarah: We were talking in bible class today about how the dinosaurs were on the ark.

Me: Dave, did you know the dinosaurs were on the ark?

Grace: The ark?

Me: Did they have one of each Sarah?

Dave: Sarah, the dinosaurs were not on the ark.

Grace: I hated the elevators on the ark.


Me: What elevators?

Grace: You know, the elevators that took us up to the top of the ark.

Me: Grace, do you me the ARCH in St. Louis????

Grace: Yeah, the ark...

Gotta love my sweet Grace!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My love-hate relationship with the month of May

May is a mixed blessing. I eagerly anticipate so many things but also want to skip the month all-together. It is the busiest month with the culmination of so many things. We not only celebrate Gracie's birthday, and Mother's Day but we also finish up school and dance.

I love the excitement but dread the planning and the fullness of my schedule. I run from place-to-place. I go to work and attend meeting after meeting, then run to get the girls to dance rehearsal and end-of -the- year events.

This year we added James' graduation to the mix. What a milestone we got to celebrate! But, what a hassle to coordinate the logistics!

We've created some wonderful traditions for May without even realizing what we were doing! We light candles, have a small procession to the Virgin Mary statue, and say a prayer for the kids' chinese mothers on Mother's Day. This year Analiese was able to say the prayer! Even though Matthew is no longer with us we included his mother as we know that she must grieve over the loss of her child. It was eye-opening as Gracie indicated that she never thought about her chinese mom.

Another tradition is for all us to stop and get ice-cream after the the dance recital to celebrate (as Analiese declared!).

May brings the end of the school year and this year we have been able to celebrate Sarah's achievements. She received an excellence in academics award, presidential physical fitness and A/B honor roll for the year.

Maybe there should be an award for Mom's who survive May without being committed. What could we call it? The Maydurance award? Any suggestions??

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy 9th BIrthday Gracie!

Sweet Grace had a wonderful birthday celebration! We held her party at the movie theatre. The girls were treated so very special. Two rows of seats were reserved in the front of the theatre, they got slushies, popcorn and candy and then after the movie they were escorted to the party room for ice-cream and cake!

Grace beamed from the moment she woke up 'til it was time to go to bed! Unlike Analiese, Grace never demands to be the center of attention. So when she gets to be the one everyone is celebrating she enjoys herself so much!

I just cannot believe that she is now 9 years old. It seems like yesterday we got on the plane to China to meet her; our Chinese daughter. Grace has come such a long way from the frightened two-year old who walked into our hotel room, to the self-confident young lady she is today! Gymnastics has helped Grace find her own identity and provide her with an arena in which she excels!

This year has been a whirlwind for Grace. She competed for the first time and exceeded all expectations. She has transitioned to training with the elite group of gymnasts and misses some mornings at school. She continues to be an excellent student, wonderful friend and awesome daughter. She is well grounded and very modest.

When I prayed and cried out to God all of those years for a child I never knew that I was being asked to wait so I could parent a very special little girl. How blessed I am. Happy Birthday my sweet Gracie, I love you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My recession proof job is not so recession proof

Many of my co-workers lost their jobs today and others were reassigned. And only 9 million of the necessary 22 million dollars in cuts were decided. Next week the remainder of the cuts, 13 million dollars, will be decided.

I realize that this is happening, and has happened, all over the country. However, I never thought this would happen in my career field. I work in education and have always said that I may not make a lot of money doing what I do, but I will ALWAYS have a job. Not anymore.

All first and second year teachers will not get a contract for next year, our nursing staff is being reduced, our attendance clerks are being let go, some administrators are being forced to return to the classroom and all middle school athletic programs are being eliminated. And everyone is being furloughed 10 days. That's just the short list

Next week the board will have to consider whether they will eliminate the local supplement to our salaries. If they decide to do that it will save the district over 10 million dollars. However, it will be disastrous for some of our teachers.

Our school district is the largest employer in the county. Many of our teachers' spouses also work in the school system. If the supplement is taken away these families will lose about 20 thousand dollars a year.

Right now so many of us, if not all of us, are feeling shock and disbelief. None of us, not a one, got into education for the money. We all were called to this profession because of our love for children.

A profession of individuals who have struggled for respect will now struggle to survive. What ARE the country's priorities?