Indiana Wesleyan University Trip

Wildcat Pride

Travelled to the actual. physical. location of Indiana Wesleyan University yesterday. They’re in Marion, IN, and although I’ve been a student for a year, I haven’t actually been on the campus. All of the Transition to Teaching program is online, which is so convenient, but a part of me didn’t really believe that this was a school, unless there were buildings. And a library.

Girls Globe library

Whew. Library at last. The black ball is a globe, by the way, not the Death Star, as one friend thought. That would have been funny, true, but inappropriate outside a library.

We walked around the Student Center. I was bitterly disappointed that they didn’t have the bookstore part open (“They’re only open for part of the year, anyway,” said the nice lady in the store. ??? Why??? I don’t know.). The bookstore was upstairs, so they blocked your entry by closing off the stairs. But you could buy t-shirts, and shirts, and stuffed animals with IWU t-shirts on, and notebooks that said Indiana Wesleyan University. And of course, pins and patches. I bought a pin for my dad, who collects pins, and will be amused to have one from IWU.

We went to the bookstore t-shirt store, which was in the Student Center, and the library, and walked around a little bit. EXTREMELY large building that called itself the Chapel Auditorium, which I would have liked to have seen the inside of, and an extremely small chapel which I thought was lovely. Didn’t try to go inside, though. t thought about trying to find the Education building, but by the time we got started on this jaunt, it was late, so we were going to get home at dinnertime. Bah. Maybe another trip is called for, when the bookstore part is open!

IWU chapel

Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls pano

One of my goals this summer is to explore Indiana a little more. I’ve lived here for years, and I’ve seen some of the big attractions – the Dunes, Clifty Falls, the Children’s Museum. . .  But I really should know more about the state than I do! Some of this is driven by the fact that it’s the 200th anniversary of Indiana as a state, and some is driven by the fact that my school filter is always saying, What if I teach… fourth grade and Indiana History? Must. Be. Prepared.

We went to Cataract Falls this weekend and it was a fun family jaunt. It’s about an hour and twenty minutes southwest of Indianapolis, and what we THOUGHT was going to happen was that we were going to park the car, hike through a forest, and end up at the falls. We would eat lunch, play in the water a little bit, and then hike back.

Cataract Falls Girls

We had to laugh at ourselves when we pulled up and there were the Falls! an easy stroll from the car. We climbed down among the rocks and walked through Owen County’s only covered bridge to get to the other side of the falls… and drove through some greenery to get to the other part of the falls. There might be some hiking trails that we didn’t see, to be fair. And it was totally worth it, just funny to have our expectations changed.

Sandy Dan Sean

We tried to talk my mother-in-law into going, based on it being such an easy walk to a place overlooking the Falls, but she declined. Maybe another time!

We did take Sandy, our dog, who loved it. I thought he’d be worn out afterwards – we were all worn out afterwards, as it was 91 degrees, but Sandy was all fired up and ready for more, once he had a little air conditioning break on the way back home.


Learning to Teach

I’m in the Transition to Teaching program at Indiana Wesleyan, and just JUST finished my first year.

I. Loved. It.

I love the intellectual challenge of it, I love the opportunity to see “behind the scenes” of practices I’ve watched teachers perform in my school, I love the chance to talk about teaching with people who are just about as interested as I am… although I’m the teeniest bit obsessive.

Seriously, everything I read, hear about, watch, or discuss with family and friends is filtered through an education filter. How would I teach that? Could I use that in a classroom? Ooh, that gives me an idea. . .

It was a tough year, and we ate many terrible dinners, I’m not going to lie. But it has been a great experience to have and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to learn. What a gift, at 47 years old, to go back to school!

The classes I’ve taken so far:

Intro to 21st Century Education for Elementary Teachers

Culturally Responsible Teaching

Assessment and Learning in the Elementary Classroom

Reading and Language Arts Instruction in the Elementary Classroom

Three more to go:

Diag Reading and Language Arts in the Elementary Classroom

Methods of Teaching the Elementary School Curriculum

Research-Based Behavioral Intervention and Elementary Classrooms

And then in March of 2017, I begin Student Teaching.

Family Life

Restarting the blog… again! Michelle Mc graciously gave up an hour and a half of her precious no-children-around time to help me update this site – so grateful! So lucky to have clever friends!

I’ve finished my Reading class for the summer, I’m in this sweet spot between work/class and, well, work/class, with only some chores around the house and projects therein to accomplish. I’ve even gotten the grades for my Reading class so I can stop obsessively updating the website. Theoretically.

13508841_10209867871638097_5471364082453261245_n M with goat

In the meantime, how great is it to be invited to a farm for lunch? A farm with baby goats? We are the luckiest people! The one on the left is Casper and you may certainly enlarge your screen but let me just confirm: he is in fact wearing pajamas. The one on the right is Albert, and he eschews pajamas. I did not get a picture of the baby kittens, who look like “fur-covered jellybeans” I’m told. If any of M2’s pictures come out, I will post.

It’s something like 92 degrees, but with the trees at the farm, it was completely bearable, and it was so fun to see coworkers from the world’s greatest elementary school, Carmel Elementary School. Love it.

The only sad spot is that my family is gathered to visit with my brother in Norfolk, VA, and I’m missing the gathering. Hoping everyone has a good time and there are lots of pictures of John with the new babies in the family.

A Brand-New Day

Some people hit Reset on January 1st – everything old washed away, only new and better habits let in. Some people do that the day after Labor Day, or August 11th, depending on when your municipality begins school

I’m doing it today, Tuesday, November 8th, a day which has much to recommend it so far (Happy Birthday, Mary!) (Hurray for refinancing our house!) but which otherwise doesn’t really start anything. Not the start of a holiday season, not the start of school, not the start even of anyone’s fiscal year.

But I could wait for a perfect day, or I could just get a move on already. Choosing to get a move on.

Welcome back to the blog! Hoping for more posts, more consistently, and more cute pictures of my kids. If not, I’ll start all over again. Again.


Toy Week report

Last week was Toy Week, and that went well, except that we were all a little worn out at the end of it. It began Sunday June 20th with seeing “Toy Story 3” – outstanding movie, I cried my eyes out, go see it at once if you haven’t already. Take kleenex.
Monday we went to the Carmel library, and they were doing a simple drop-in program in which the kids could play with – guess what! – toys!
Tuesday we went to the Carter Toy Museum in Zionsville, which was really neat for an adult, and the girls seemed to like it. There were lots of toys behind glass to look at, sooooo if you remember “Toy Story 2”, you might worry a bit about that. But there were lots of riding toys downstairs, and the girls got to do bumper cars (Marissa: not so much a fan), and ride a carousel, and it was a fun time.
Wednesday I think we were supposed to go to the Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel, but instead were able to go to the Civic Theater’s production of “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Lots of kids were in it – I think technically the Junior Civic Theater put it on – and it was a nice production. The girls enjoyed it! I had never been to Marian University before, so that was neat, to get to go somewhere new. The Civic is moving up to Carmel next year, I believe – I think their 2010-2011 season is still at Marian – but then they’re coming up here, and I’m SO excited about it! They like to do musicals and I like to go to musicals so it’s a match made somewhere good, anyway, and I’m thinking about asking for a season ticket from my mom for my birthday that year (That would be 2011, for those keeping score). Haven’t checked with her yet, because it’s maybe a little … controlling to ask for a birthday present a year and a half in advance. On the other hand, she’s a planner, and might like to know that she has that one down!
Then Thursday, we were supposed to go to the Children’s Museum, which for reasons which escape me is having a giant Etch a Sketch available this summer. But we were kind of wiped out. So we stayed home instead.
Then this weekend, to mark the conclusion of Toy Week, I cleaned out the toy chests downstairs! A little private celebration…

Fairy World (a story by Miranda and Elizabeth Finney, told in alternating sentences)

Welcome to Fairy World! Here there are lots of kinds of fairies, and even pixies too! Their houses and apartments are made from sticks and stones and leaves. Sometimes they decorate with flowers! Fairy World is under two trees – the Pixie Tree and the Fairy Tree. The pixies like to visit the fairies, and bring them mushrooms; the fairies like to visit the pixies, and bring them flowers so they can decorate.
The ants are trained to bring food to the fairies. They can keep some food. The fairies are kind to the ants, because they appreciate that they don’t have to carry the food themselves! The fairies appreciate that so much that they even have a day called Ant Day. On Ant Day, all of the ants get to take the whole day off. They sleep as late as they want to, and they get honey baths at Fairy Word.
If you ever visit Fairy World, you’ll know you’re there because you’ll see two trees – the Fairy Tree and the Pixie Tree. But watch out and don’t step on their houses! The end.

The Goggles Picture

Couldn’t figure out how to get the goggle picture in the last one, so here it is.

Da girls

Miranda’s been practicing her swimming underwater. Marissa’s been practicing being brave in the big pool. I’m just happy when they are together like this, and I’m not splitting my attention between two kids at opposite ends of the pool.

Swim lessons start in two weeks. Hurray! Maybe then I won’t be quite so nervous around the pool, with two kicking and splashing but not quite floating kids. They’re taking lessons at our pool, from an enterprising young woman who set up a card table in the pool area on this, the first weekend of the pool’s being open. $100 for 10 lessons, which seems pretty good, and in any case, there she was and there the lessons were so nothing could be easier, and I’m a big fan of easy anymore.

Bathing Suits and Goggles and Guns

From Elizabeth:

We were able to go to the pool today – yesterday the girls played in the sprinkler, and that was a lot of fun, but they really wanted to go to the pool. So we managed to get there in between rain showers!

From Miranda:

The pool was really fun. I dived under the water a lot. I love going to the pool. I got some new bathing suits. I got to wear one.

Miranda and Marissa pool

From Marissa:

My favorite part was swimming in the big pool.

The Pool Opened Today!

From Elizabeth:
But I got no pictures, so will have to wait until tomorrow.
Brief moment of panic when Miranda’s size 7 bathing suit proved to be a little too small for her, but luckily the two-piece monkey bathing suit worked. We went to Kohl’s tonight and bought not one but TWO new bathing suits. She tried them on in the dressing room, and it was one of those I-am-shifting-into-my-mother moments, when I sat in the dressing room, by the mirror, and she went into the dressing room booths, and she came out in the bathing suits, and two dresses, and I said how much I liked all of them, and she said decisively, I don’t think the red bathing suit looks good on me, but I really like the pink one and I really think we should buy it. Umm, ok, I said. It took me years to learn to be that decisive in the dressing room. But she’s a fast learner.
Bought her, in addition to the two bathing suits, a navy dress with pink polka dots for the wedding next weekend, and a pink dress with stitching in the bodice, because it was cute and on sale, and both dresses, hallelujah! were long enough.
Just a lovely rich day, and you know if I can say that about a day that includes shopping, it must have been a really good one. We cleaned out part of the garage, and went to the pool for two hours, and I finished the new Kate Braestrup book, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity – really good! – and Dan grilled steak for dinner that turned out well. Always nervous around steak. Miranda finished at least two Boxcar Children books. Marissa read two Bob books all by herself, with her dad listening.
“I thank you God for most this amazing day,” said ee cummings – “for the leaping greenly spirit of trees, and the blue true dream of sky, and for everything that is natural that is infinite that is yes.” It was an amazingly good day. I hope you had one as good.