Hiatus + Announcements

I know that few people read this blog (and all who do are adequately informed about my personal life), but I haven’t been updating as much. Hopefully the following story illustrates my preoccupation in recent months…

I love teaching for many reasons. Today just happens to eloquently illustrate why I choose to teach eight-year-olds. They humble you & elevate you, all within the space of minutes. Not only was today my birthday, but I also announced my pregnancy to my class.

During morning announcements, our mischievous office manager wished me a “Happy 40th birthday!” (I just turned 32.) Not being age-conscious (or so I thought), I just laughed it off. One of my students, in an effort to make sure my feelings weren’t hurt, earnestly consoled me by saying, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Burchett. You don’t look a day over 35.”

I had thought of a clever way to announce my pregnancy to my students. At the end of the day, I gave them each a Dixie cup full of “baby-sized items” (baby Tootsie Roll, mini M&Ms, miniature marshmallows & a baby candy bar). I said that it was my birthday, but that I had a special message hidden in the candy for them & they’d have to use the comparing skills we’d worked on to figure out what all the items have in common to guess my secret message.

“They’re all candy.”

“They all have sugar in them.”

“You could put them in cookies to make the cookies even better.”

“They’re all foods you can’t eat until after you clear your plate.”

“They’re things you only get to eat when it’s Halloween time.”

“Every one of them is an ‘ask your mom first’ food.”

They continued on in that vein for several minutes. As it was getting close to the end of the day, I had to explain that they were all good answers, but I was looking for similarities specifically in size. We narrowed down that they were all small candies & I asked why I would have given them small, or indeed baby-sized candy.

“That’s all that would fit in the Dixie cup.”

“We’re small kids, so we should only get small candies.”

“You couldn’t afford the bigger candy bars.”

Finally, I stopped them & said, “Not only are these candies baby-sized, but something else is as well.” I pointed to my belly & looked out at the class. 5 seconds… 10… 15… At last, a girl in the back of the classroom stood up, fully outstretched her arm & pointing at me, declared (in her loudest voice), “Well, YOU. ARE. PREGNANT!” Relieved (there were, at this point, only about 30 seconds left in the school day), I smiled & admitted that yes, I was.

Now, I’ve announced my pregnancy to friends, family & colleagues, and with one notable exception, I got the best reaction from the kids. In unison, their faces filled with awe, they all started clapping & cheering – like I had just done the best magic trick & they were so proud & impressed by me.

I highly recommend making announcements like this to eight-year-olds. I do not recommend trying to be cute / subtle & asking them to infer your meaning.

Love Is…

- making easy-to-eat nachos for your husband while he’s into his new computer game & can’t tear himself away from the computer.

- cleaning the house with your wife on your day off because she is freaking out that things aren’t done & her girlfriends are coming over that night.

- notes hidden around the house that say why your husband is great.

- bringing lunch to your wife’s school on your day off to sneak an extra 45 minutes together because she’s your favorite person.

- always, always noticing your wife’s new haircut, even when it looks the same.

Lazy or Just Caffeine-Deprived: You Decide.

I wish this post could be about the scads of amazing things that I’ve accomplished recently. Lamentably, it isn’t. I have spent the last month or so just feeling tired & lazy. This could be attributed to my attempt to (largely) give up caffeine, and if so, wow. I’ve never slept so much & accomplished so little. I am going to list things that I have done, just so I feel as though my life is not whizzing by as I nap.

  • put in extra time volunteering at all of favorite places over break (prepping for the media sale at The State, teaching new tutors for ReadingWorks & picking up extra shifts at The Little Shop for Friends of the Modesto Library)
  • started a new school year, made it through Back to School Night & successfully began a new class
  • sorted through approximately half of the things in my house that I had hoped to sort through this summer (half is better than none)
  • read more
  • watched a million episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

I really thought there’d be more on that list. Hold a hope that my energy level will rise in the near future…

Things I Like

Tell me that clock isn’t awesome. I dare you. What an amazing use of vintage records. At about $42 USD, I am not sure I can justify it as a whimsical purchase, but I do love it. Check out the site for other phenomenal designs.

My Milk Toof is a site that uses baby teeth as comedy. It is ridiculous but I love it. All of the shots are so well-styled & I smile while reading each one.

Check out this awesome graffiti proposal. I am completely digging the artistry & letting kids be involved in the piece. Additionally, the couple looks so happy, and I am a sucker for happy, recently engaged couples.

I have made these four times now because they are so delicious & easy. I cannot recommend them enough. Perhaps when I am not gorging myself, I’ll make a post about different variations, etc. but currently that simple recipe & the suggestions in the comment on Epicurious are enough to lead you to total breakfast domination.

Vacation Makes Me Lazy

The more time off I have, the less I seem to write. It seems incomprehensible that I make time to write when I’m busy & don’t bother when I’m free, but there you have it. I’m “a paradox, wrapped inside and enigma, wrapped inside a puzzle, that is a mystery.” Or, in more probable terms, I am lazy.

I’ve had three weeks of vacation (and yes, I do understand how lucky I am to have a teacher’s vacation schedule), and this has been my schedule:

  • spend time with my husband
  • volunteer at my local theatre
  • cook for my husband (who so often cooks for me)
  • try recipes I’ve been meaning to make for some time
  • volunteer at my local library
  • take day trips
  • spend a day with each of my sisters & my niece
  • tutor
  • sleep in
  • finish unpacking / clean the new house (this is more of a “to do” than an “already done”)
  • spend more time with my husband

All in all, I haven’t done anything life-shattering, but I have spent time with loved ones & doing things I love, so I think I’m coming out on top overall.

It’s Bigger than You.

My Grandma Helen was one of the best people I’ve ever met – probably the best. She espoused “Christian” values in the very best way possible – through her actions. Each morning, she spent an hour or two praying for everyone from her family to the president. She taught until her late 60s, when the district said she had to retire. Then she ran the homeschool division of her school district until she had to retire from there too. After that, she tutored children in her hometown. She adopted three children in her life – two as infants (including my father) & one after her children were grown & her husband had passed – a teenage girl. She always had food for anyone who stopped by, and she drove “elderly” members of her church to the store & to worship until she gave up her driver’s license around age 90.

Our lives are very different. With 75 years separating our years of birth, I know aspects of my life would be shocking to her (but I married him, Grandma, so the living together doesn’t count – right??), as hers would be to me. However, since I was a small child, she impressed upon me that we are bigger than ourselves. We’re a part of a community – be that at our home, school, church, city or even larger level.

I have always had her in my mind when volunteering – sometimes expressly volunteering at an activity that I know she’d have loved to do herself, sometimes as an afterthought, an “I wish I could tell her about this” moment. This morning, as part of Love Modesto, I took carnations & conversation to people in a couple of retirement homes, something Grandma did at Bethany Home for as long as I was alive, certainly, until she went there herself. When talking with a woman who missed her grandchildren who were away at college, I started crying, and we talked about my grandma for quite a while. As we left, the woman took my hand and told me that my grandma would be proud of me and the adult I became, and I’m just holding onto that today.

I’m so grateful for my life, my home, my husband & family, but especially that I had such a strong inspiration early on. It’s a sentimental day, and I do miss my grandma.

I’m Fairly Certain…

No one combines exhaustion & excitement like an elementary school teacher the night before summer break.

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