DPP 2014 :: December 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th

14 12 2014

december 10


Wednesday, December 10th  :: Animal Reports!

Every single moment in my classroom has been spent notetaking, paragraph writing, editing and rewriting drafts for my students’ Animal Reports.

So to find this little gem amidst pages of notes made my day.

Kissing beaver teeth.

Cause….”Beaver Couples Mate for Life!”


Thursday, December 11th :: Sun!

A long lost friend showed up for a few hours on Thursday….after WEEKS of cold, damp gray, she peeped out.

Central Park, Corvallis

This was the day before, for perspective:


 Friday, December 12th  :: Caption This

Took caption suggestions for this one from friends to entertain myself on Friday.

  1. “What? I’m not a reindeer? Well, that explains Santa’s reaction when I tried on harness!”
  2. “See I can be good! I’m being good! Tell Santa! See my smile? I’m being good!”
  3. “O.K. mom, you’ve got your picture. Can I watch T.V. NOW???”
  4. “Yes, I’m a reindeer one moment and tooth brushing beaver fan the next. Now where are my presents?”
  5. Reindeer in Headlights
  6. “I didn’t do it.”
  7. “I love smiling.  Smiling’s my favorite!”
  8. “Santa is here for dinner?!??”
  9. “Nooooo….I am not THAT reindeer!”
  10. “What do you MEAN Christmas is right around the corner?”
  11. “You think these shorts are too short??  No Way!”
  12. “Yes, I DID just eat the whole gingerbread house……Why???!!  MORE SUGAR!!!”



Saturday, December 13th :: 10:11 on 12-13-14

 Saturday’s Picture was all about this fun event that won’t happen for a LONG time again…

10:11 on 12 – 13 – 14!



And Today…Sunday, December 14 :: LEGO Nativity

I pulled up some directions and ideas on Pinterest for LEGO Nativity scenes or Christmas LEGO builds.

None seemed to match Alex’s vision.  So he made his own creation.

Complete with a comfortable belly shirt for Mary, because, “MOM!  She just had a BABY.”



Some outtakes and Favorites from the Week:


A still of the hours of Nativity 2-Man Play Moments.

This was a rather epic event.

Pictured above:  Angel Gabriel, Jesus (Pig) and Mary


Each year our church does “Christmas Camp” which means we get to drop the boys off for three hours of baking, cookie decorating, crafting and game playing, book reading in tents and general fun.  Matt and I got to enjoy lunch at Les Caves, downtown shopping at the Inkwell and Many Hands Trading Company and an espresso at Tried and True Coffee.  Sun was shining and skies were blue.  Such a treat.


dpp 2014 :: december 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th :: catching up

9 12 2014



Posted this one a day late but couldn’t resist the grainy blurriness of this shot—

the entire family, including Sally, the dog, made it.  

It was a Christmas miracle.

We packed up crabby Friday night boys and went to the Benton County Fairgrounds for the Pastega Light display.  Can’t help but be happy when viewing Christmas light displays, in my humble opinion.



Sunday was FOGGY.  And cold.  And the boys were….crabby.  Notice a theme?!?  


But in spite of it all, they dressed themselves in shorts and we went to church.  

Pastor’s Kids always dress the best!  

My spirit needed it as much as anyone else.  

Hubster preached a pretty vulnerable sermon and as Brene Brown wisely says, these moments can leave you with a vulnerability hangover.

So glad we made it because we all needed the balm that is often only found in community.  

Love our church family.

{here it is if you want to take a listen :  1stcorvallis.sermon.net/20261897}



Monday was….Monday.  

And yet, I have SO many friends fighting horrid illnesses right now (can we say, “NOROVIRUS HITS CORVALLIS”!??!  bleh).  

So, trying to remain positive and not sweat the small stuff like gray skies for weeks on end.  

Monday we got to host my friend’s kids and I loved watching all five (four pictured here) play outisde for an hour.  

It is dark, gray, cloudy and damp day after day, but I love that it didn’t deter youthful superhero fun.



 Handwriting Magic. 

Never gets old seeing handwriting formation.  

And Drew’s obsession with his REAL name….ANdrew.  Not DREW.  ANdrew!!!!



My amazing job share partner introduced me to the joys of Insta-snow and Steve Spangler.  I am a language arts and history nut, but science is not my thing.  I like it in concept, but it’s messy and confusing and unless it’s Geology, I could pass.  

But watching Melissa teach science to our kids and revel in the joys of the mess and confusion with them is giving me a bit more confidence.  I even enrolled them in the Science Club Steve Spangler does for the the New Year…

2015 the Year of Overcoming Christine’s Fears of Science.  

Today we tried Insta-Snow for our daily Advent activity.  

They had a blast and even made a snow foot bath…science spa time!  

My kind of science.


dpp 2014 :: December 5th :: Two Sides to Every Story

5 12 2014



Which image to post?  Which “reality” to post?  This is life….two sides.  Two options.  Which do you present to the public?!  And how to cope with emotions that change with the drop of a coin?  {aka…our life with a four year old}

It’s Friday, though, so I am going to remind them of the consequences of choice number one {Grumpy Pants Gough in Picture 1} vs choice two {Rolling With It Gough in Picture 2} and maybe even guilt the boys into number 2.  Because….today is the Eve of St. Nicholas Day.  We will be remembering this saint of old, who was honored due to his giving and grateful attitude as we move into December 6th.  We’ll be putting out shoes tonight—well, we live in Oregon.  And it is wet.  Foggy.  Cold and Freezing.  So…by the door, INSIDE.  We will be following the tradition of long ago {read my friend Micha’s thoughts posted on the blog two years ago to learn more about St Nicholas Day and how you can celebrate it today and tomorrow}.

“Those chocolate coins and oranges come at a COST, boys…..BE GRATEFUL.  BE HAPPY.  GIVE TO OTHERS.”


{Alex’s little shoes from three years ago when we lived in California and we could actually put them outside!}

I think I need to work on my build up and delivery, but that’s the goal.  Being true and authentic…but turning outwards.  Trying to rise about the rhetoric and the image we try to put forth and dive into the nitty gritty…service and others above self with a big helping of thankfulness on top.

And as Micha wrote in that post—-

And whenever they think of Santa shimmying down the chimney with the Lightning McQueen toy they’re most dreaming of, we’ll pray they’ll remember that, amazingly, the best gifts are usually the ones we give, not those we receive.

I pray they’ll love the mystery of Santa. What kid doesn’t? But I hope they’ll love him most for his heart, his kindness, his willingness to love back because of the Savior who rescued his life.



5 12 2014


Have you felt it? Has it threatened to take you “out back” and knock you down? Have your cheeks flushed red? The “this CAN’T be happening too me” moment? Weary? Faint? Overwhelmed?

Lately I have found myself at odds between my own expectations and the realities of daily life. I had a parenting vision of sunshine and roses and instead, sit with an obstinate, non-cooperative preschooler, wanting to make a scene myself. Battles wage as I negotiate behavior choices and opposing desires with my eldest. Weary? Check. Faint? Absolutely. Overwhelmed? Daily.

What moments add up to lead us to these places?

The Israelites seemed to come to a similar crossroads. They felt “far from home”, lacking hope, as if God had broken the covenant. In the past God had promised, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Yet they feel alone, forgotten & punished.   The Lord proclaims that God will build them up again. That AGAIN, they will dance with joy and AGAIN, plant vineyards. That the Lord will come and give rest.   That God will lead them beside streams of water on a level path. They will find comfort, joy and gladness, not sorrow and mourning.

In Jeremiah, the prophet wrote, “The LORD will create a new thing on earth—“. In hard moments, the promise remains….we, too, are on a journey. God promises to do a new thing. Restoration and hope are on the horizon, a new covenant. A continual cycle of forgiveness, renewal and reformation.

This process is a road sign, a guidepost for us as parents too (vs. 31: 21). Jeremiah says, “set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.” Sometimes these roads feel like uncharted territory. Like we took a wrong turn and are headed to an unknown, undesired destination.  We long for a road map to Paradise. Google directions to Replenishment.


In my mind, it is a call to remember that we are on a continual cycle, an ongoing journey. Each year, from September to June, I see this unfold time and time again. As a teacher, we welcome new students on the first day of school, everyone a bit nervous, but usually filled with a big dose of excitement and anticipation too. The learning and hard work begin, the fixed mindsets threaten to take hold. Assessments and projects push the bonds and trust to the brink. Some days feel dark and never-ending, and others stand as guideposts and mile markers not soon forgotten. Somehow May rolls around and a quick descent into June’s report cards and end-of-the-year rituals. The cycle rotates again and again, a little reformation moment going deeper and deeper each year.


We were at the coast last week and nothing feels quite as restorative as a winter whipped ocean. We braved a nasty storm, weaving our way to the ocean amidst strong wind gusts and cranky back seat travelers. Replenishment was to come in the morning, though. It didn’t arrive due to hours of deep, weekend restorative sleep, but rather, the ocean. After a morning swim in the pool, we took off for town, stopping along the way to check out the lighthouse. Our oldest pushed us to go all the way down to the shore to get a closer look. The tide was in close, waves crashing, rocks making music all their own. The enormity of the boys’ energy was dwarfed by the force and sound of the ocean. It’s power filled us too.

A friend of mine, Ashley Larkin, recently wrote of a similar experience, “I look out….upon the vast and mighty Pacific Ocean. The weather is stormy, the waves churning. I am captivated by this power because it causes me to consider afresh the One who set all of creation into motion and continues to be Lord of the wind and waves.”

The power of the One to keep creation in motion. Replenishing. Reforming. Renewing. A promise to pull us from moments of weariness to rest and restoration.   Sometimes we need the eyes of the very ones that threaten to pull us under to see what is before us.


{Youngest, clearly captivated by the children’s sermon…Pastor’s Kids…}

Those same two that can leave me growling in frustration or red-cheeked with embarrassment can also point out the renewal that lies before my eyes. The harbor seal just beneath the surface, buffeted by the waves. The shell buried at my feet. The imagination waiting to let lose.



{this post can also be viewed at Practicing Families and is part of my “every so often” posts found there}

Dpp 2014 :: December 4th :: Gratitude

4 12 2014


Today we wrapped up some thank you notes in Room 15.  Our local Rotary Club gifted new personal dictionaries to each 3rd grader and the excitement was palpable.  I decided to take pictures of the kids with the dictionaries and this image above was my favorite.  Notice that little bunny in the middle with the dictionary upside down?! On purpose and planned and a testimony to this class in a nutshell.

This group of students is healing me with their hearts, their humor and their resiliency.  I find myself less forgiving with my own boys some days after coming home from this bunch.  Many are truly holding so much each day.  Hard stuff.  Instability.  Difficult situations at home.  Lack of resources.  They seem to pull together though, and continually surprise me.

They aren’t perfect by any means and life isn’t a virtual bed of educational roses but I feel immense gratitude for them.  As they crafted their thank you notes today,  I began thinking about what I’d write in a note to each of them.  It is a true gift to experience these moments of “rightness” while at the same time being “at work”.  Fredrick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  Even though some days are hard, there is gladness and hunger meeting.  And for that….I am so grateful.


dpp 2014 :: december 3rd :: Letters to Santa

3 12 2014


This kid cracks me up.  Dictated letter included, “I love you so much…thank you for the gifts last year.  Do you have a tree?  Ours has ornaments and lights!”

I wasn’t too hot on continuing this tradition except to get a sense of what’s on their lists each year.  Incidentally, Alex’s included a tuxedo and a top hat.  Despite my reservations, we did it last year and were surprised when we heard back.  The Postal Supervisor in Corvallis makes sure each and every letter gets answered.  Small town living!  The boys loved getting a personalized post card last year and so we did it again in 2014.  And seriously?!?  Drew’s Rudolph homemade postage stamp?  Sigh.  Love it.


dpp 2014 :: December 2nd :: Making Candy House Lists

2 12 2014


Today my job partner and I decided to go for something that is a little scary…candy houses.    It used to be my favorite December activity but I haven’t been in a classroom during this time of the year since 2007.  Time to pull up the old files, reformat and rework and go for it.

This dear class I have this year has only 15 students and they are just an incredible bunch.  Having only 15 kids has given us a bit more bravery to try new things we shied away from with our usual 30 bunnies.  The population of my current school is no where as affluent as other spots I’ve worked, so it feels a little scary to ask families to send in supplies.  But I am so excited to watch their joy making gingerbread houses together—worth the risk and the mess, I say!



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