Sunday, August 30, 2009

My List of To Do's

My blogging friends have starting a list of what they want to do when the grow up. My turn.

-birth another child in my 30's.
-adopt a child from my community (currently reading "The Women Who Raised Me" by Victoria Rowell, amazing memoir about adoption/foster care in the 60's and Maine's laws against a white family adopting a black child)
-get my Master's degree (special education? speech? general education?)
-live in an old house
-take one good trip every year, with our children
-learn to ride horses
-do something teaching and aiding young mothers
-participate in an excursion where you swim/play with dolphins
-go on a silent retreat (thanks Steph, have always wanted to but probably wouldn't have thought to post it if I had not read it on your post)
-start a new career (???? although I love my job I have an underlying feeling that it isn't what I'll be doing for the next 20 years)
-quit smoking (once and for all - for those of you who don't know, yes, I do, ug)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Funny Story

Everyone of course is freaking out about H1N1 Swine Flu right? Don't touch this, sanitize that... my mom said she was at the grocery store last week and saw a woman with a mask on pushing her cart with her rubber gloved hands. I chuckled when she told me and took to heart her advice to "watch it" while I am at work at an elementary school where kids don't care that they sneeze at you and/or on you. I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer probably at least once a day... that's enough right?

WELL this morning, before work, I was at the YMCA doing my work out thing and when I was finished on the treadmill I followed YMCA/H1N1 protocol and "wiped down" the machine I used with the disinfectant and paper towels they provide. I walked over to the mats to stretch and cool down and as I was chugging a bottled water I also took in a breath and got choked up. At first it was the muffledtryingtokeepitcool type of cough but it turned into the kind of cough that you are kind of embarrassed to have in a public place... when I tell you I almost felt threatened by every eye in the place I mean I kind of felt like I had to bury my head in my t-shirt but what I really wanted to do was scream, "I don't have the flu!!! I choked on my water!!!" Seriously? Everyone looked at me like they wanted me to die and burn my body right then and there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

For bloggin's sake

I like how JG did his last post so here I go:

a few things to remember about me:

- i love asking "what's for supper?" (usually followed by, "do we have any money?"
- sometimes Nick and i get really absurdly tickled making funny faces at each other and talking to each other with a lisp
- i hate thinking about having to run errands after work... i like to come straight home
- pjs and watching a t.v. with Nick while he plays with my hair is my favorite
- i take bubble baths after i exercise
- i usually hate talking on the phone; i would much rather you just come by
- i am embarrassed by how much American (or World for that matter) history I should know but don't
- i get anxious and down right irritable when I am hungry
- fall festivities (carnivals, hayrides, pumpkin spice latte's, fleece jackets) give me butterflies in my stomach
- it has been 5 years since i went to the beach... but in October we are going with my family... excited is an understatement
- two of my closest friends are pregnant with baby girls
- lit candles in my home makes me feel cozy and at peace
- people at work consider me a positive person, which, although flattering, i think is a true sign that they really don't know me that well... my closest friends and family would probably say i am a natural worrier
- i perform tasks best under pressure/i procrastinate
- i can usually humor those around me by making impressions
- i miss church

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What I (do I ) Do?

November 10 marks the 5th full year I have been employed as a Speech Therapist working at the same elementary school. My drive to work is a very peaceful and uplifting part of my routine. I used to take the congested Taylor Road route but a year ago started cutting through Bell Road/Montecello and on the way I notice green pastures, ponds, and even buffalo... if you are familiar with Montgomery you know the house I am talking about. There is this one house that seems to have never been inhabited that sits back off of the road that I drive past and think is my dream house. It is two story, gray siding, wrap around porch, wooded back yard, long driveway. There is just something about this house that is perfect to me. In town yet secluded. On cool mornings I put the sunroof down and listen to NPR while I sip my coffee and drive 45 thinking "what a beautiful morning." Once I am at school I dig through my purse for my classroom keys and walk up the sidewalk, say hello to the bus drivers and crosswalk guards and head inside where I am washed over with the aroma of waffles and syrup. On the way to my room I watch tiny students bobble down the hallway with their huge backpacks as they pull their pencils out of their pockets to show their friends - new sharpened pencils can be a symbol of status when you are five. My room is always 70 degrees and smells like apple cinnamon. I check my email first, heat up my oatmeal, and start shuffling through the day's progress notes of who is coming in and what we will be working on. A lot of times my lesson does not match up completely with what is on the IEP because my students' needs are so much greater than single phonemes. I teach of lot of syntax, basic concepts, and pragmatics. Reading and listening comprehension, turn taking, and conversational skills are big targets in my classroom. I have never given out candy as rewards. Stickers and certificates mean more to the kids and aren't as bad for their teeth. If a student is really good and returns his homework he might earn a turn on the computer playing a language based game on a website called Grammar Crackers. I have friends at work too. There are a handful of ladies that I can talk to about babies, church, weight loss and gain, other students, and plans for an upcoming holiday. In between sessions I'll give Nick a call and ask how his day is going - who is he eating lunch with, how did his meeting go, what comes on T.V. that night...

Occasionally there is a student that really touches my heart. Last year I fell in love with a little girl I'll call Jan. Jan is 6 years old and lives with her mother, twin sister, and 15 year old brother. I have visited their house before and as I sat on their sofa talking with her mother I looked around, trying not to gawk, and noticed that there were no pictures on the walls or end tables, each kitchen cabinet door was open but there was no food in it, and the carpet was stained and bare in some spots. Jan's bed that she shares with her twin sister was simply a box spring and mattress with tears and rips and a single flat sheet. Jan would talk to me about seeing her mother go in and out of the hospital for "laughing too much." It is no secret to the faculty that her mother suffers with addiction - on and off. Jan has a foster mother and father but is no longer allowed to visit the foster mother because she is abusive. The times Jan has visited her dad in Georgia she said she didn't like staying there because she didn't like listening to her dad and his girlfriend do it. She said that she doesn't like that her dad lies to his wife and that she has to keep a secret. Jan has asked me about God and if I believe in Him and it is so hard to try to explain to a child in such circumstances that we have the same loving Father... she doesn't understand why she is scared and sad all of the time and she has begged me to let her come to my house.

One day in the summer I was thinking about Jan as I folded towels. I told God, "Lord, if you want me to, I'll take Jan, and her sister too." Then the thought came to me, "Impossible. Impossible. Two little black girls from the west side coming to live with a white family on the east side - plus I am one of her teachers? impossible." In that moment I felt strongly led to go and read my Bible... my daily devotional that is more like every other weekly devotional. I stopped what I was doing, turned to that exact date's daily reading, and there looking me in the face was the verse, "Jesus replied, 'what is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27. My blood ran cold through my veins and I put my hand on the page and looked up. I closed my eyes and made God the promise, "if you bring her to me, I'll take her as my own."

Jan is at a different school this year. Her mom found an apartment zoned for a different Title I school. I took her folders to the speech therapist that will be seeing her but before I left I went by her classroom. She ran from the door to grab me around the waist and she said, "oh Mrs. "Mikee." She didn't let go for a solid 10 seconds. She grew a few inches and gained a few pounds but her face is still the same. She tried to tell me how to get to her new house and that her brother doesn't go to school and that he got bitten by a police dog this summer for trying to rob a BP station. She asked how my babies are doing and I showed her a video clip on my cell phone of the babies playing in their nursery after bath time. She said, "ooh look at all those toys." Before I left she hugged me again and said, "ooh I love you." I bent down and said, "I care about you so much and I'll be coming to see you again soon." As I drove away I repeated the verse, "what is impossible with man is possible with God..."

It is mind boggling to me to think that her world and mine are just 12 minutes away.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dining In

This little arrangement of photos is something I have recently put together in our dining room. Top left is a picture of my grandmother Laura Kelly (one of the women I was named after). Diagonally from across on the bottom right is her with my mother Mary Prue. Bottom left is Mama with me. Top right is me with my daughters, and of course in the center, my babies when they turned one year old. This morning I framed a picture of my Great grandmother Laura Brightman but have not hung it yet. 4 generations of women and their daughters. The idea came to me when I was a little girl sifting through my mother's pictures. I found the two of them with their babies and imagined that one day I would frame all three of us together. I guess you could say I have had the dream of being a mother for a very long time and all it's duties and joys have definitely lived up to the dream. If I had a home with a staircase in the main entrance I would cover the walls, like they do in the movies, with old and new photographs but for now, my dining room wall is my pallete.

Also, I have started "setting the table." We do a lot of dinner hosting in our home. Not always for a large crowd. Most often it is just us and a friend or two but around the holidays especially our home is a place where everyone ends up. It seems like, in this day in age, eating around the t.v. with dinner trays is the easy and most comfortable way to dine, however, I have set a personal goal for our family to start dining at the table. Jason gave us a decorative plaque for our first home that reads "blessed is the home that shelters a friend." I like this idea because I love food and I love our friends. The dinner table should be a place where food and fellowship provide emotional and nutritional comfort and one way for me to stay motivated to do this is to keep a theme on the table. With each season I hope to have a matching floral arrangement and salt and paper shakers. I am not crazy about table cloths but eventually I will add to our place mats and napkins instead of the same ole' black place mates we have had for years. My favorite salt and peper shakers are two little silver Christmas trees I found at a flea market for $5. The two little birds you see in the picture were a gift from me to Nick last Christmas because we have a recent little obsession with birds ever since the babies were born. It seems like every time I walk into a flea market I find my way to table setting "things" but since I am not a fan of clutter I have always talk myself out of buying the ones that catch my eye. However, I do like the idea of collecting specific small inexpensive things so salt and pepper shakers may be just the items to fit that desire.

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. ~Jane Austen