Monday, February 13, 2017

My 41st Birthday

I am 41.  I am richly blessed.  My birthday was wonderful.  My cute students (almost) all wore blue because that is my favorite color. Several of them brought me cards or gifts.  They sang happy birthday and a parent brought cookies and a Happy Birthday sign.  I was able to go to dinner with my family (Bombay House...Indian food...SOO yummy!!).  Alfredo bought me the most beautiful flowers and new shoes.  I had so many texts and Facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday.  Two different friends brought me treats from Kneaders.  So many people reached out to express their love.  I am truly blessed.  I truly have the greatest people in my life.  I was brought to tears multiple times throughout the day.  I am not sure why I am so very blessed and my life is so rich, but I am so thankful.

Gabby wrote this sweet note on the card with the flowers:  "You are the most beautiful woman in the world!  Happy Birthday!"

Learning about our Rights

It is the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights.  One of the teachers at my school applied for and received one of 200 displays about the Bill of Rights for our school.  It's pretty neat...there are replicas of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, a timeline of events and information about the rights we have as citizens of this great country.

As part of the celebration, we invited Reverend France Davis to our school to talk about the Civil Rights movement and his experience marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Davis was born about 100 miles away from Dr. King.  He explained that they were called colored back then...anyone who wasn't white.  He went to a school where everyone was colored...all the teachers, bus drivers, students, everyone. He spoke about the "colored only" and "white only" signs that were all over his city and all over the South.  "Coloreds" had to ride in the front of the train, the back of the bus, the bottom of a boat, and the top of a movie was a big deal to know where you were supposed to sit and to follow those rules.  About 2/3 of the children in his city were colored, and about 2 million dollars was spent on the colored schools each year.  On the other hand, 10 million dollars was spent on the white schools.

He talked about Martin Luther King's intelligence.  He was asked to leave school when he was 5 because he was the highest reader.  He was very intelligent and had his PhD. by the time he was 25. Dr. King believed strongly in nonviolence.  Reverend Davis met him in 1963 in DC at the march.
He shared four lessons we can all learn from Dr. King:  1.  Prepare as if everything depends on you.  2.  Imagine...have a vision for what you want to achieve.  Dream.  3.  Communicate that vision with others.  Learn to communicate effectively with people.  4.  Everyone has value.

We learned and sang "We Shall Overcome" with Reverend Davis.  There were quite a few tears in adult's eyes as we sang.  It really was a pretty special event.  I'm so glad I live now and that we have made progress in how we treat those of different backgrounds...but there is still work to do.  There still exists too much prejudice and too much bigotry.

This past week, we were able to have our principal, Dr. Kirby, speak to our students (two classes at a time) about her experiences growing up during this time period.  She spoke about not being allowed to try clothes or shoes on at the store.  So they would make tracings of their feet to measure their shoes.   They would take their measurements and bring all that information with them to the store when they shopped for clothes.  They also learned to sew so they could make their own clothes and so they could adjust their clothes if they bought something that didn't quite fit right.  She talked about going to the grocery store and having to wait until all of the white customers had been waited on before they could check out.   She allowed the students to ask questions.  One of my students asked if children of color could go to the circus or amusement park.  She said they had special days when they were allowed to go, but they had to go on those designated days.  She also explained that people of many backgrounds were considered "colored"...hispanics, polynesians, asians...anyone whose skin was not white.

I think it has been really valuable for my students to learn about these events, to (hopefully) appreciate the rights they have and those who worked to ensure these rights for us all.  I know that it has been a moving experience to listen to Dr. Kirby and Reverend Davis.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Miscellaneous Events in the past month (or so)

Since the girls went back to school on January 3 and I didn't go back to work until January 9, I decided to pick Ella up from school one day and take her out to lunch.  She chose to go to Pizza Rev.  Our food was delicious.  But Ella told me when I picked her up that she didn't feel good.  I was hoping she was just hungry, but after eating she said she felt worse.  And she kept putting her head down on the table at Pizza Rev.  So she ended up coming home and spending the rest of the day in bed.  Poor girl!

Gabby is really loving 3rd grade and doing very well.  She was so happy when she brought home her report card in January and she had all A's, all 5's in citizenship and a great note from her teacher.
Sorry...I don't know how to turn this photo.  The note from her teacher says.."Gabby always has many insightful ideas and is a role model for our class.  She takes pride in her school work and uses her time constructively.  Way to go!"

A couple of weeks ago, it was Hunter Pride Evening at Culvers.  A portion of each family's purchase would be donated to the school.  So we headed over to get ice cream.  We saw a couple of neighbors there which was fun.  Also, two of the teachers, Mrs. Leith and Mrs. Olsen, were there.  I could tell that they genuinely love my girls and all of their students.  I'm very grateful for the hard work and dedication of amazing teachers!

Just this past Tuesday, Gabby had parent watch day at dance.  I really enjoy going to watch her.  She is progressing.  She pays attention and really tries hard and stays focused.  She is getting more flexible and she really tries to do her best.  A couple of the girls in her class were really distracted by their parents being there (the teacher had to talk to them about not running over to talk to their parents in the middle of dance) but she was focused and really did her best.

For one of our January activities, I took the Beehives to the Church History Museum downtown.  We got to be History Mystery Detectives, a free program they have on weeknights for youth groups.  Then we got to watch the movie about the First Vision and wander around the museum for a little bit.  One of the missionaries talked to us quite a bit about his testimony of Joseph Smith.  It was a really wonderful night.  I sure love these sweet, sweet Beehives...and every one of the YW.  It's a privilege to serve them!

We've also had the privilege of having a couple of people over for dinner.  Last weekend, our dear friends Jeremy and Stacie came over for dinner to celebrate Stacie's birthday.  The week before that we invited the Julio family and the Fetzer family from our ward to come over for dinner.  I especially loved getting to hold the Fetzer's baby girl that evening.  And the following night we had Immanuel and his wife over for dinner.  I have kind of a goal of having one to two families from my ward over to dinner each month.  I'm sure there will be a few months we miss, but I feel like it is a small way I can strengthen relationships, build more unity in our ward, and help develop love and understanding among us (especially if we can find other topics to discuss than politics.  Alfredo is so frustrated by things with Trump that politics seem to come up daily).

Life is good.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Positive Negative Space

Several weeks ago, Gabby had her cute friend Grace come over for a sleepover.  The art teacher at my school had done a cool art project with my class about positive and negative space and I had done it at home with Gabby.  Gabby asked if they could do it again now that Gracie was here.  So we did.  Here the girls are modeling their art work:

They are such cute girls!  I feel so thankful that my children have such great friends.  Our family has been very blessed with amazing people as friends.