Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas, Part I

Christmas break is half over....(pause for groans from those of you not employed in the education realm)...and highlights thus far are as follows:
  • Chasing cattle on Christmas Eve. On the Koehler farm, there's less need to worry about the extra calories from the holiday goodies (and my mom is the queen of holiday goodies) because walking (and sometimes running) through 5-8 inches of snow completed decked in cold-weather gear for about an hour burns a fair amount of calories. Squishing into the tractor cab with Scott and two brothers, inhaling the cold winter air, feeling the wind chapping my cheeks, watching steam rise from the cow pies I'm sidestepping as I walk behind the herd...ah, yes, the sights and sounds of Christmas. An added bonus: Scott thinks I look pretty cute in my green coveralls and yellow fleece stocking hat :)
  • Playing Scrabble. My mom and I play two to three games of Scrabble a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first couple of years when Scott came home, I could beat him easily. Now, because of that stupid game on his cell phone, he soundly beats my mom and I every time. My brother, Todd, came close one game, but, alas, he is the house Scrabble champ. Drat!
  • Playing cards. The Koehler's are a card-playing family, so the holidays often find us gathered around the kitchen table for a game of cards (usually Hearts for those card playing afficianados out there...if only I could figure out how to take all the points instead of coming within two or three. Maybe next year). Here, again, I often find myself on the losing end. Good thing I'm such a good sport :)
  • Winning Christmas carol-themed games. Thankfully I don't lose every game I play. At the Christmas party for our church's small group, I (and Ranae) rocked the "Name that Christmas Carol" and "Christmas Carol Pictionary" games. I knew listening to the 24/7 Christmas carol station would pay off some day!
  • Reading for fun. I highly recommend A Thousand Spendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner). The story will draw you in and make you thankful for living in the good ol' USA.

I hope your Christmas has been a very merry one as well!

From the mouths of babes...

Entertaining pieces of conversation from those under age 6 overheard (or heard about) at Christmas:
  • "Amanda, smell my lips." Erin (age 4.5) loves her new lip gloss.
  • "Look, Santa put a sparkly bow on my present!" Also said by Erin (according to my sister) while she was excited jumping up and down on Christmas morning. It's all about the sparkly bows...who cares what's in the gift, right? :)
  • "I don't want Jane and Scott to have kids." (Amber, age 5) "Why not?" replies my puzzled sister because the conversation had been about when we would get to Pierce, not about us having kids. "Because I want to sit on Jane's lap. I don't want to share." Really, does anything melt an aunt's heart more than hearing that story?

Kids make Christmas even better, don't you think? :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

How fitting that the last day of my challenging, tiring first semester of teaching is a snow day! There are definately perks to being a teacher.

When I worked at the American Red Cross recruiting blood donors, snow storms were anything but fun. They meant that blood donors wouldn't come in and goals wouldn't be met. Snow caused nothing but stress at the Red Cross.

I'm thankful for a job that allows me to be a kid again when it comes to snow. A job that causes me to rush to the TV or computer, waiting anxiously for the M's (for Millard) to scroll by, and then break into the "no school happy dance" when I get the good news. Shoveling the driveway doesn't even seem that bad on a snow day. Thank God for snow days!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


In my attempt to make the randomness I call my life fit into a loose theme, I bring you a list of "firsts" that I've experienced recently.
  • First time I've taught Romeo and Juliet to freshman...or to anyone, for that matter. Observations from this experience: Shakespeare was a rather "dirty minded" man, and at least one student will pick up on almost every sexual reference made in the text that I try to skim over. "Sex sells" apparently is not a new concept. Freshmen have hilarious opinions about what they would look for in a potential date. Among those "must have" qualities: she needs to have nice "assets" (his attempt at being school appropriate and making a pun with the name of a school club "The 40 Developmental Assets"...I'd be lying if I said I didn't chuckle a little), he needs to not be smelly and dirty, and my personal favorite "she needs to not cry too much."
  • First time I've taught students how to write a research paper. If only it could be a "first and only" situation. Lesson learned: explain things in 200% more detail and repeat directions 10 more times than I think necessary.
  • First time God has answered a prayer by suspending a student. Please don't think I'm a terrible person. I did not ask God to suspend this particular student, but he did have me at the end of my rope every single day, so I had definately prayed for help. I don't think it's a coincidence that the day after I almost cried during my planning period, this particular student was suspended for 12 days (rest assured, nothing related to my class).
  • First time Scott has helped a woman color her hair (at least I hope so!). I decided to go more natural for the winter but was afraid I was missing spots with my at-home hair color kit. Scott came to the rescue, squirting dye on the spots I was missing.
  • First time I've played Axies and Allies. This is one of those "conquer the world" games, which, you know, is totally me (please sense the sarcasm there :) Its takes 30 minutes just to set up the board. Most games I like are finished within that timeframe! Actually, though, I had a fun time, am willing to play again, and made my husband incredibly happy in the process. You should have seen his face when I answered his question to play with a "Yes." Priceless.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but I, like my students, am starting to "check out" in anticipation of the holiday break (only eight more school days!) Gotta go use my brain cells to figure out what to teach now...