Monday, January 31, 2011

My K (and His J)

Ah, K. The guy who makes the bed and does the dishes on his day off so I can return to a tidy home. The guy who brings 94% fat free popcorn to me in my classroom. The guy who helps me with my lesson plans (hole punching, copying, cutting). The guy who takes me out to eat at Paradise Bakery for that fabulous tomato soup. The guy who listens to me spill out my whole entire day, keeping eye contact, laughing along, and prompting, "What else?" THE guy. MY guy. Yep, THAT guy. Love him.

So this is K's J, aka "Silly Girl." K couldn't believe he married a girl who actually owned pioneer dress up clothes. J is doing a short-lived impersonation of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The rewarding satisfaction for all of this effort came throughout the day each time a staff member would guess, "Are you Laura Ingalls?" "YES!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Not a Mother

I'm not a mother. "We haven't been blessed with children." You've heard all the phrases. So, please don't think that I think I know what it's like to be a mother. I don't. However, I get to have experiences with children. It's my career. My profession. And sometimes, these children turn my hair gray!

This last Sunday evening, K and I sat down to settle our finances together as we do each week. I quietly commented to him, "Today is the day that Cade died ten years ago." K never met Cade, but I was his teacher and I have visited his grave site. I helped shepherd Cade's classmates through the viewing and the funeral, as well as the discussions that came up afterward. Weeks later, I would be blowing my hair dry before school and start sobbing. So random. I had a hard time disciplining my students, thinking, "What if this is their last day on Earth and I'm the one that kept them in for recess?" Cade passed away due to a tragic accident at his home. I'm so sorry for Cade's family. His little sister later became one of my students. I didn't know how much before he died, but I knew it quite well afterward...I really loved that kid! I love all of my students. It's just hard to measure the love when they keep talking while you're talking.

While I was thinking back to being Cade's teacher, I had no idea that at that very hour, my current student, C, was sitting in a manhole waiting to be rescued! She and her brother and her friend were innocently walking home (it was dark) when she unwittingly stepped into an open manhole and dropped sixteen feet! Her brother tried to stop a car on the side of the road and her friend called 911 on her cell phone. After calling 911, the girl called C's parents and then she called her own parents. Rescuers arrived. The highway was closed. Life Flight landed and took her to the hospital. They had to cut her brand new sneakers off. I visited C yesterday afternoon once she had been released (her family is totally fine with the pictures I snapped). Can I just tell you, it's SO GREAT to know she'll be able to heal from her injuries! It is SUCH a RELIEF! I wouldn't wish a concussion, a broken arm, and a stage two lacerated liver on anyone, but she will mend, and for that I am truly grateful. As a class, we watched the newsreel on the internet. After that, we made get well cards. I taught her older sister when she was a fifth grader.

Four years ago, I had another student, C, that was life-flighted. She rode her four-wheeler through a barbed wire fence which cut her neck and caused swelling, closing off her airway. K and I visited her in the hospital. Again, relief! Life Flight gave her a special t-shirt because they had to cut her clothes off, and she wore it proudly. She reads tons of books, she teases her siblings, and she's still here. I've taught all of the children in that family except for the youngest who hasn't made it to fifth grade yet. I've also been to their father's funeral.

Another student, Katherine, didn't make it. She too rode on Life Flight and spent a couple of days at the hospital after a tragic accident while camping, but she couldn't continue. We lost her. How could this growing, inquisitive, spunky, darling girl who sold Girl Scout cookies to me (and had just played her flute in front of the whole class the Friday before) not be here anymore? It brings tears to my eyes again as I type. Her brother later became my student. Her mom still works at the school. Sometimes we hug over Katherine. The photograph on her headstone is the one I took of her on the first day of school.

In each case mentioned, I have taught more than one child from those families. I have become part of their lives and they have become part of mine. I'm certainly not the only teacher who loves her students, but I just wanted to say something about the concern and worry that goes into raising and teaching these children. It really does take a whole village to raise a child. It takes a community of caring citizens. No, I'm not a mother. I am a Teacher. And I'm very happy about that, even though I've got more gray hair than ever thanks to C's manhole experience the other night. I hope the parents enjoy our Night at the Museum tomorrow night. I hope they know during parent/teacher conferences next week that I'm trying my best. I hope they know how much I worry about and love their precious children.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Family Home Evening

Time is always so short with K and we're forever meeting up at crazy hours in crazy places just to be together. On Monday, it was FHE on snowshoes! Gorgeous.

We are so blessed to have such close and easy access to all of these recreational places. Our ski poles were "screaming" and "whining" about the cold. Seriously, we both commented on the noises we heard each time we jabbed the things into the snow as we hiked along. Nothing better than spending time in the great outdoors with my Sweetie, listening to things, sharing things, and breathing the same fresh air.

Homework: I had to have a photo of me reading in an interesting place for our Jazz Readathon Kickoff Assembly. The 2011 Newbery Award winner, Moon over Manifest, was announced just that morning. K puts up with me even when I'm burnin' daylight.

We, uh, thought we knew AF Canyon pretty well, but we, uh, discovered a "new" trail. We highly recommend Trail #040 which takes off from Tibble Fork/Mineral Basin. Yay! New trail!

It was getting dark as we headed back to the car. We had our headlamps with us, but we didn't need them, really. We just kept our ears cocked for snowmobilers in case they came ripping around a corner and couldn't see us on the Mineral Basin Road. Something was going on at the parking lot when we returned. Ken noticed it first and thought we had better offer help. A couple of girls (early twenties?) had gone walking around the reservoir, but weren't extraordinarily prepared for the fifteen degree temperatures. One injured her knee and couldn't walk. A couple of guys (late twenties?) were talking to the girls asking if the one was alright and if they could help. When I approached, one girl decided to pull the car up as close as she could while the two guys carried the other girl to the car. She had been scooting on the snow using her hands without mittens or gloves and bawling! There wasn't much we could do, but we did present her with HAND WARMERS! So glad everything worked out. It doesn't take long for cold weather to make a tragedy out of something.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Very Glorious Bushwhacking

The trailhead sign indicates mileage, but today those numbers also served as TEMPERATURES!!! We snowshoed on 1/1/11 at 1 degree! Our beautiful Timpanogos was absolutely STUNNING in her winter gown.

As you can see in these photos, not only did we walk over the snow, we walked UNDER it too! Those poor branches...

The "trail" continues right behind K, underneath all those snow-laden branches. We had already been bushwhacking for quite some time and didn't feel inclined to crawl on our hands and knees. Someone, if you'll notice, made an alternate trail up on the left. Well, being a fair weather ranger and complete chicken most of the time, I decided it was a bit too steep and precarious for me, so we turned around.

I prefer to wear ear grips rather than a hat. Nope, I'm not that gray yet. It was so cold and I was sweating from hiking uphill, thus we see my frosted hair.

A bit of scenery for your perusal. K took a picture of me way out in front as I was snowshoeing down. He said he couldn't keep up with my "death march." I was headed for rays and had found my stride!

By the time we descended out of the canyon and into the sun, the temperature was a balmy 13 degrees. It was a "bluebird" day, as they say, after all was said and done. Please note the heart I drew with my ski pole in the snow on the right. It's one of my snowshoe traditions. K thanked me for getting him out this morning and said our little expedition was "very glorious."