Sunday, June 28, 2009

Funny story

I really will have to begin a blog one of these days just for my funny kid stories! There are so many, and working with such a diverse group of kids this summer promises that I will have many, many more!

This one just cracked me up.

We have had a huge influx of jr. highers this year. Last year, we only had one jr. higher, and I felt so bad for him because everyone else was in 3rd grade and lower. This year, we have about six, though. I really enjoy having them around. They're a big help with the younger ones (most of the time) and they bring an entirely new element to the summer gang.

We walked to the library on Tuesday to watch a wild animal show Glendora Public Library was hosting. Two of the soon-to-be 7th grade girls were walking next to me and complaining about being "forced" to go on such a long walk when it was so hot outside. I was just telling them to be patient and that it would all be worth it when suddenly, Glendora High School's cross country team went running past us. Both girls stopped in the middle of the sidewalk with their jaws to the floor watching all the sweaty, shirtless guys pass them in the street.

"Oh, Miss Bethany!" They both gushed, "we should do this EVERY day!"


Leave it to me to get a COLD when it's reaching 100* outside! I really don't understand how that works. It's nice to get a chance to relax like this after such a busy week with VBS, but the fever part of this whole deal is miserable.

What a week! Jesse has been working for months preparing for VBS, and this week, all of his work paid off. Vacation Bible School was a hit! We had nearly 100 kids, and were really pleased with the turnout.

There were so many volunteers, we had almost as many as there were kids! It was wonderful to see so many hands ready to help, and hearts ready to share God's love.

Jesse and I are completely exhausted, though. The people who had offered to be in charge of crafts were not able to be involved at the last minute, and so Jesse and I were left with planning all of the crafts for the week (the program we used sells everything you need for all of the crafts, but it was going to cost us more than $1,500). I'm pretty pleased with what we came up with! Doing it ourselves, though, meant a lot of extra work. We spent about 3-4 hours every night preparing for the next day's craft, which left us with less sleep than what we really needed to get us through the day.

On top of all of that, my summer program went on as normal, so I was completely exhausted by the end of each day! The summer program kids had a great time this week, and I was given a budget just for crafts, so I'm really excited about that! I went to Michael's and bought all sorts of things the kids will enjoy. Can't wait to see their faces tomorrow :)

Jesse had to go to church without me today. I'm disappointed. I haven't been sick like this for about 4 months! I was really starting to think that I was getting over this whole lymph node issue. Friends at church were actually congratulating me last week for being healthy this long! Isn't it sad when 4 months of good health is a big deal? It's discouraging!

Part of me is worried that I seem to not be able to work a 40 hour week without getting sick. The other part of me realizes that this week was definitely out of the norm because of VBS. Hopefully, today and yesterday's rest will kick these sickies way out of the park!

Other news...
I found my first tiny tomato growing on my plant on Friday! I was ridiculously excited. Still am :) I found 8 more yesterday. I'm so proud of them! My tomato plant is six times bigger now than it was when I bought it. It's towering over the tomato cage! Can't wait to reap the fruits of my labor!

I also have 4 lavender plants. Ever since that lavender festival with my mother-in-law, I have been obsessed with it! I've been harvesting wands from my two culinary lavender plants, and making lavender green tea. It's amazing! It's going to take about a year for each of my lavender plants to mature, so I'll have to be really patient, but I can't wait to be collecting enough lavender to give out as gifts! It is an amazing plant.

The pink rose bush I trimmed back two months ago is exploding with roses. It's amazing how many can come from one little plant! It sits right outside of our bedroom window, too, and I can see it's shadow outside as it's blowing in the wind.

Well, there's my green thumb news for you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

And Summer Begins...

The dead stillness of summer in the valley has not begun yet, and I'm cherishing every cloudy day and wispy little breeze. It won't last for long!

This beach girl has toughened up only a little bit. I'm not looking forward to the heat.

I laugh when I think back to last summer when Jesse and I returned from our honeymoon to a home that got up to 92 degrees regularly when we were out of the house. I was so stubborn last year about using AC! Hopefully I'll be able to take more heat this year and use AC less. Also, I won't be in the house as much for the next few months, so that will probably help our bills, too!

Today is my 3rd day of my summer job. I've spent the last couple months planning for the summer program (at our church, in case I haven't mentioned it before--and this year, I'm the director!) It's been going great so far. We've made a lot of changes this year, and I think it's really going to help :)

I love the girls I'm working with. Sara and Mia work the School Age Care all school year. They're the sweetest, most responsible girls, no one would have ever guessed that they're only 18! And I'm really happy that my friend, Leanna, from Concordia is joining our staff this year. We're going to have a blast!

We're off the the Griffith Observatory today. Wish me luck!

Funny story I have to share, though: yesterday, since this week is Space Week, we made spaceships out of toilet paper rolls and decorated them. As the kids were working on them, I asked them, "If you could take your spaceship anywhere in outerspace, what planet would you visit?"

Maxx, one of the 1st graders in our program, replied thoughtfully "I think I'd go to Canada!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm back!
...Mostly, at least. This past week was such a wonderful escape from everything except the love of my husband (OF ONE YEAR!!!) that bits and pieces of me are still floating around the wonderful moments we shared in the beauty of Zion and the Grand Canyon that I don't feel that I've completely returned yet.
It was a wonderful trip. To be chronicled in our shared blog as soon as I get up the energy to sort through the 350 pictures I took and decide which ones I'll post!

Anyway, a little something to share with you...
I just got off the phone with my sister Kate, and something she told me made me smile, and I just had to write it down!

Kate told me that the other night was a "Girls Night" at home since Dad was at work and Jon is still off gallivanting on the Mediterranean Sea. She said that when dinner was all ready to be eaten, Laura came sauntering into the room to join her and Mom, and feeling that something was missing, Kate called up the stairs, "B! Dinner's ready!" Mom and Laura both stared at her before Kate realized that I wasn't there to be called for.

How funny is that? I haven't lived at home for four years now! It touches me though, and I had to share it with you :) It's a wonderful thing to be loved and not forgotten!

I'm so thankful for my siblings. I love them all so much. It's crazy how spread out we are these days. I'm married and living in Rosemead, Jon is abroad cruising through history and art, Kate is preparing to move away to college in the fall, and Laura is away working at camp this month. It must be strange at home for Mom and Dad--this is the emptiest home has been in 20 years!

I sent a care package to Laura today complete with cards from me and Jesse and a stack of photos for her to keep in her room. I loved having "happy thoughts" like that when I first moved to college, and even though her stint isn't as long, it's got to feel the same right now.

Going through old photos on my computer and choosing the ones to print for her, I had a wonderful time walking down memory lane!
Here are some things that made my heart smile:

I don't know how I was so blessed to grow up with such wonderful friends. They're all so silly and fun, but such wonderful comforts, too. I love keeping in touch with them and getting to spend time with them!

Speaking of which, Kate might come stay over next week. I'm excited!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Being Rejuvenated

Last week was very refreshing for me. I subbed all of last week as 5th grade teacher at Hope (our church school.) I had such a wonderful time! That's the longest stint I've done in one classroom, and I loved getting to know the kids and enjoy building relationships that I knew would last longer than a day. It was wonderful!

For a week, I got to pretend that I actually was an elementary teacher. I had the key to the classroom, the homework to assign, tests to grade, and new concepts to teach. I quickly got to know the kids, who needed extra help with what, and which ones should never sit together.

I really needed that week. Sometimes, subbing in a class for just one day is very discouraging to me, because I don't get to build those relationships or learn the thing you need to know about a class to be able to teach them.

They kept me laughing, challenged me to be a problem-solver, and reminded me that I am an effective teacher, even if previous substituting experiences have made me doubt that. It also reminded me that while I've always felt that I prefer teaching kids as young as I can get them, I love the older grades too! At least in difficult times like these where teaching positions are s c a r c e, I know that I can handle any K-6 classroom instead of insisting that I'll only teach 1st grade or something. Subbing has definitely helped my flexibility!

The 5th grade teacher had left me exactly what he wanted me to teach each day (which was wonderful! no guessing games), but we went through each day's assignments pretty quickly. I had to find other things to keep us busy, so I decided to read through The Witch of Blackbird Pond with them. They all enjoyed the story, but the vocabulary was oft-times above their level, so I had to do a lot of on-the-side explaining.

Boy, did they jump on the line "Kit was gay as she skipped along the lane under the prairie-blue sky."
"She's GAY?!?" They all shouted. It took a lot for me to rein them back in and explain that "gay" in this sense meant happy or merry.
The next day, however, when one of the 5th graders said that his friend had called him "gay," I shot a warning look to the suspect. He grinned and shrugged: "But Mrs. Brubaker, I only meant it in the happy sense!"

They'll keep you on your toes, they will!