Saturday, October 31, 2009

Corn Maze Craziness

Last night, Michael, our friend Laurie, and I decided to check out one of the local corn mazes.  For those that live around here, we went to Lynd's Fruit Farm.  It's an 8 acre maze cut into a Persian Nights picture.  Here's the best picture I could find.

We went after it got dark--afterall, that's the best time to go.  We had a fabulous time. 

Laurie had never been to a corn maze before.  She was in charge of the flashlight.  She looks a little worried.

I kept telling her that "all pictures are blog-worthy".  :)  Michael was in charge of the flag.  You have to take a flag with you in case you get lost.  You hold up the flag and people who are watching from the look out tower help you out.

I wanted to be in on the action too!  I was in charge of the camera, so I had to take matters into my own hands! :)

What a stud-muffin!  I could just eat him up he's so cute!

The staff gives you a little paper map.  Throughout the maze there are podiums of facts.  On the podium is some sort of picture.  You use a crayon and make a rubbing on your map.  If you get 8 out of the 14 you get a prize.  This is Laurie doing one of the rubs.  (Again with the faces....)

Trying to get a good picture in the dark is hard.


"I think we should go that way"

"I think we've seen this corn before"

He's scrum-dilly-ump-tious!

Ok, the lady told us that it was just "a little muddy" in the letter S area and the snake.  She lied.  Most of the maze was muddy.  My shoes kept sticking and the heels kept coming off.  I was annoyed.


"Where are we?"

Another walking picture...

So then we tried to get a group shot.
The first one wasn't so bad...a little squint-y from the bright flash

Let's try again... Yikes (for me at least)

Where's my mouth?

Michael was sick of smiling at that point. His face cracks me up in this one.

Well, anyway.... we had a great time.  We ended the night with a really yummy funnel cake.  We had a great fall night!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hoda and Kathie Lee

I love the fourth hour of the Today Show.  If you don't know what I'm talking about.... it's probably because you are working! :)  For the last year or so, Hoda and Kathie Lee have been entertaining people from the 10 to 11 o'clock hour.  I, of course, am "working" during this time.  So---I DVR it at work.  We usually aren't home during this time, but I just have to watch it.  Even on the days Little Man is at preschool and I could watch it live, I still DVR it.  My favorite part is the first 15 minute segment.  They talk about whats going on in their lives, current events, and show new or crazy things on the market.  It's pretty funny.  I watch it every day during nap.  It's my nice little treat every day.  Check them out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Awt Pwojects"

I've told you before how much Little Man and I love to do 'awt pwojects'.  K bought something to put them all in.  She has kept every single thing we've done so far!

Good idea right?

This is a look at the top.  You'll notice we are only at age 3.

Um... do you think we have a problem?

Oh, then I added all the 3 dimensional things back to the top where they were...

This isn't even all of it.  There are about 20 pieces/projects on display as well.  Maybe I should come up with a better/bigger portfolio for people who have a ridiculous amount of art projects like us!  Anyone want to go into business with me? :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do I miss it?

Besides, "when are you going to have a baby", the most asked question I get is whether or not I miss teaching.

The answer simply and honestly is "No".   I can tell you that I never imagined I'd be where I am today.  I never imagined that I wouldn't be teaching.  I certainly never imagined that I'd pay for a college education to then later become a nanny.  Sounds a little backwards huh?  But that is the case.

Because this seems to be such a point of interest with family and friends (who make up the majority of my readers), I thought I'd explain.  So come along as we take a walk down memory lane and I let you know how I got to the place I am right now.

I guess it all started in first or second grade.  You see, I can't pinpoint the exact year, because I had the same teacher and was in the same classroom for both years.  But being the very visual person I am, with the ridiculous memory (which is both a blessing and a curse!)... I remember when I made the decision that I wanted to be a teacher.  It was in the classroom in my small Christian school in South Dakota.  I loved my teacher.  I loved school.  I loved all the little art projects and grading papers just seemed like fun.  Why not be a teacher?  This passion and desire was placed in my heart at this very young age, and never once did I waiver.  I was told often, "you don't want to be a teacher".  But I did.  From a very young age I knew that I was going to go to college to get my Elementary Education degree.  I did just that.  In fact, when it came time to figuring out what my minor would be, I had a hard time.  I couldn't think of anything I would want to do besides teach, so I didn't know why I would want a minor in something else.  Eventually I just settled on getting a minor in Bible.  I figured it couldn't hurt since I was most likely going to teach in a Christian school.

And a Christian school is exactly where I ended up.  The twists and turns, crazy coincidences, and divine appointments that led me to my first job is just mind boggling.  (Too much to share in this post.)  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going where God wanted me to be.  I still believe that to this day.  I followed His lead and He directed me right to Ohio.  I was given the first grade teaching position and took off running.

I taught at that Christian school for six years.  I can honestly say that I LOVED my job for the first four years.  I loved everything about it.  I loved teaching.  I loved the family unit that the staff made up.  I loved my students.  I loved my classroom.  It was so easy.  It was one of those situations you hear about... where they say if you love your job enough it won't feel like work.  That is how it was.  Somewhere towards the end of my fourth year, things started to change.  People started to change.  Rules were no longer rules.  There was a bunch of political garbage going on and I no longer loved where I was at.  I considered leaving.  I thought about it, I prayed about it, and I talked it out with people I respected and trusted.  I remember when I finally made the decision to stay.  I was having a talk with my "adopted mom".  I told her that my head really really wanted to leave.  I wanted to be done with it all.  But my heart said God wasn't finished yet.  I wanted to leave, but He had yet to tell me it was OK.  So I stayed.

My fifth year I was absolutely miserable.  I had a rough class and no one backing me up.  I am a very black and white kind of person and I was swimming in a pool of gray.  I am a very "follow the rules" kind of person, but no rules were being followed.  I was getting married that summer.  I didn't want to get married and leave my job all in the same summer.  I knew I would have to give it one more year.  That last year was much of the same as the fifth year, maybe even worse.  I had a great class that year though, so I was able to go out on a high note in that regard.  I had a peace about leaving.  God was saying, "Ok, Bethany, you can go."  I didn't know where I was going, but I knew I needed OUT.  The situation I was in was toxic for me and I had to get out fast.  For my own sanity, health, well being... Make sure you read that right.  I did not say the school was toxic.  I did not say the staff was toxic.  I did not say teaching was toxic.  However, the situation I was in was very, very toxic for me.  I needed a change.  I needed to breath.  I needed a place where I would be uplifted and encouraged and not told to go left one day and then get yelled at the next day for not going right.

So I left.  I was told, as well as all my colleagues in a staff meeting, that I was walking away from my calling.  I'm not even going to being to discuss how wrong that was.  I was also told that God was not going to bless me for "walking out of His will for my life".  Again, not even going to touch the surface of how wrong it is for someone to say that to me.  I was also told that I should not be so materialistic.  That just because my friends have nice houses and cars does not mean that I need them.  That God would not bless me financially if I wasn't doing the work of his ministry.  Then OTHERS were told that I was leaving for these reasons.  A year and a half later I am still living in the same house and driving the same beat up cars.  Enough said.

Many ask why I didn't find another teaching job.  I wasn't burnt out from teaching, but I was burnt out of all the garbage.  Because of certain situations, my heart was not ready to go to another Christian school.  I also never really felt called to teach in a public school.  So that left me looking.  And once again, God directed my steps.

I wasn't even planning on becoming a nanny.  I was going to work with autistic kids.  However, to have all my options out there, I started looking online for nanny jobs.  I sent a few emails and most people responded that they would love to have a teacher but they couldn't afford me.  Fine with me.  Until one day, I got an email saying that this guy would like to talk to me.  We had a phone conversation and set up an interview for the next weekend.  It was the first and only interview I went on (just like my first teaching job).  I went on the interview in February, knowing I couldn't start another job until June.  This happened to be perfect for the family.  Their current nanny was pregnant with her second child, due to deliver the first week in June.  They called me a week later and offered me the job.  (I was not their first applicant/interviewee.)  I accepted and the rest is history.

I do feel that I am in God's will for my life at this time.  I am blessed--both financially and otherwise.  I have a complete peace.  I have no stress, no high blood pressure, no tears, no stomach issues, and no episodes of wanting to bang my head against a wall. :)

It's not all about money.  Let's be honest.  I would have stayed at that school for my entire career had I felt that's where God wanted me.  Obviously teaching in a Christian school is a full time ministry.  Most Christian teachers make less than pastors, if you can believe that.  I gave six years, even with naysayers trying to be in my financial business, because that's where God had called me.  I struggled.  There were times I couldn't pay my bills.  Most of the time I had two, three and even four jobs to help pay the bills.  I did it, because that is where I was suppose to be.  I would have stayed.  Even being payed peanuts... I would have stayed.

Do I miss teaching?  No.  All the things I loved about teaching, I am doing now.  I am teaching Little Man every day.  I am planning.  I am organizing.  I am doing "field trips".  I am doing all sorts of fun art projects.  I get to see the light bulb moments.  I am being a Godly influence to not only Little Man, but the family I work for and all I come in contact with through our activities.  Not only am I doing all the things I love, but I am overwhelmingly appreciated.  I am respected.  I am treated with dignity.

Do I miss grading papers? No
Do I miss staying late for teacher meetings, open houses, conferences? No
Do I miss inconsistent leadership? No
Do I miss having a dress code? HECK NO! :)
Do I miss ridiculous parents? No
Do I miss giving 110% and being expected to give 150%? No
Do I miss always having the "rough class" because I know how to handle them? No
Do I miss being told to "pray about it" or "just love on him" when discipline action should have been taken? NO
Do I miss paying for all sorts of things out of my own (very shallow) pocket? No
Do I miss being "scolded" during prayer? No
Do I miss being told to "take one for the team"? No
Do I miss being asked to do more and more and more with less and less respect? NO
Do I miss being yelled at? No

I think you get the point.  The things that I would miss would be my teacher friends and a few of my favorite families.  But I get to keep up with them through lunch dates, phone calls, facebook, running into them at random places, and visits.

Don't get me wrong.  I love teaching.  I love being a teacher.  It is who I am at my core.  It's easy for me.  It's second nature to me.  I will always be a teacher.  That doesn't change.  Do you get that?

I cannot even put into words how much I LOVE my new job.  I love everything about it.  I once again have a position where it doesn't feel like "work".  I love the little guy that I get to hang out with every day.  I love influencing the foundation of his life.  I love teaching him new things.  I love looking at and experiencing life through his eyes.  I love nap time. :)  I love the car I get to drive.  I love the people I work for.  I even love their parents.  I love all the fun things we get to do around town... things I would never have known about otherwise.  I love all the people I get to meet.  I love all my new friends.  I love my pay! :)  I love all the gifts and treasures I get.  I love the notes telling me how much I'm appreciated.  I love being able to shape and form the life of a little boy.  I love cuddling up on the couch with Little Man and reading books or watching cartoons.  I love it all.  I could keep going, but....  I won't!

Now you know.

This is where I'm at today.  I may teach again one day.  I may not.  But for now, I can confidently say that I'm where I'm suppose to be.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aunt of the Year (and sister too)

My sister and I are about as opposite as they come.  We don't look alike, we don't act alike, we don't have the same taste, and we don't have the same skills.  Admittedly, my sister got a lot of the "good" genes.  One gene (or probably gift, because I don't think it was passed on to me) that she didn't get that I did was being crafty.  She doesn't have a crafty bone in her body.  She will be the first to admit that she isn't very creative.  So when she was told she had to make a tennis scrapbook for her daughter for awards night, she promptly turned to me to rescue her.  She knew that if she made it, it would most likely be the worst looking scrapbook at the entire event and she didn't want her daughter embarrassed.  What a nice mom! 

So I was enlisted.  We set up a Sunday afternoon for me to come over and help make the scrapbook.  My lovely sister, being the clever one that she is, called me three different times telling me that she had no supplies and to "bring my crazy scissors".  (Ah... you just gotta know my sister to appreciate that!)  The coach had given her a few scrapbook pages, some stickers, and a binder to put it all in.  I went shopping for extra supplies, packed my gym bag full of supplies--including my "crazy scissors"--and headed to my sisters.  I sat down, got to work, and ended up with this.....

 Working hard... notice my lunch waiting patiently for me.  I was f.o.c.u.s.e.d.



(Sorry--my sister sent me these pictures because I forgot my camera.  I tried and tried to flip this picture, but because of the format it was sent in, I couldn't figure it out.  You get the idea though! :)
I added glitter to these pages with puffy paint, but it's hard to tell in the pictures.  It turned out super cute.







All in all, I was at my sister for 5 hours.  I ate lunch, did a little chit chatting, and rocked out 13 pages for my beautiful niece.  I'm pretty sure she had the best scrapbook of the night. (Or at least that's what I like to tell myself!)  Man, are my sister and niece lucky or what?  ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recognizing Name in Print

One of the "goals" or state standards for preschoolers is to be able to recognize their name in print.  Little Man and I have been working on this for a little while now.  He also has to do a few tasks every morning of preschool that will help with this as well.

I decided to make up a little game for us to practice this skill.

I took some scraps of construction paper and cut up little "cards" for us.  Then I wrote names on the cards.  I wrote some names of people he knows--me, family, friends--and some names that start with the same letter as his to try to make sure he isn't just recognizing the first letter.


We played two games with these cards.  First we played a memory game.  This is just a good skill regardless of what you are matching.  I made the rule that for this game, it didn't matter who had the most matches, whoever ended up with Little Man's name cards was the winner.

Then we played my own made up version of Old Maid.  I took one of the Little Man cards out and made his name the Old Maid.  I told him that whoever ended up with his name card WON!  This entire concept of holding cards, matching cards, laying down matches, drawing from my hand, etc. was all a little hard.  However, Little Man loooooves playing games, so he stuck it out and kept wanting to play over and over.

Ultimately it doesn't really matter at this point if we are playing "right" or not.  The point was to give him more exposure to his name in print and hope that he can be able to pick it out on his own.  Again, it's about making it relevant.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Washer Love

Michael and I had been considering getting a new washer and dryer set when we move.  We were going to use our current washer and dryer as part of the negotiations of selling the condo.  The dryer is only a couple of years old, but the washer was ancient.

I really wanted these beauties....  (or ones similar anyway)

Michael wanted this....

(He would make our entire house blue and everything in it if I let him!!!!)
Being the gracious wife I am, I decided he could go ahead and get the blue.  Ok, ok.... really, he does all the laundry, so I figured it was only fair he got the color washer and dryer he wanted.

Of course, this was all in our dreams and plans.... until our ancient of days washer decided to break on us.  One day she just decided she didn't like spinning anymore.  I don't blame her.  I don't like to spin either.  Nonetheless, we were left with having to buy a washer BEFORE we moved.

This caused a slight problem.  If we buy a red blue washer, then we should probably buy a matching red blue dryer.  But if we weren't leaving them at the condo anymore when we moved, then we didn't really need a new dryer.  Do you see the dilemma??  Anyway, we shopped around online, went to a few stores, and were throwing around ideas.

We were at Sears and had walked around for quite some time looking at all our options (with NO employee help).  We decided we'd go ahead and go for the ones we liked, but wanted to price match one more store.  Just as we were getting ready to walk out the door, our quirky little sales man walked up.  He was quite the oddball, but very helpful.  He asked if we were set on getting a front loader.  We liked the look, liked the idea of saving money by being energy efficient, but I wouldn't say "sold".

Then he showed us this:

It's the Whirlpool Cabrio washer.  It's a top loading energy efficient washer.  Here's what we learned:

*If we would have bought the front loaders, we were also going to buy the pedestals.  Two of those would have added an extra $500 to the bill.  With the top loader, the pedestals aren't really necessary.
*We wouldn't have to buy a new dryer, because by sticking with plain old white--they match
*This washer does not have an aggitater like most top loading washers and has a 5 cu. ft. tub which is larger than any front loading washer out there.
*With front loading washers, it has a large plastic rim around the opening and these tend to get water in them and get moldy fast.  You have to either really be on top of cleaning them, or replace them often.  (I know this to be true from the washer at work, so I knew the guy wasn't just selling me crap.)
*With a front load washer, you can't open it once you start--or obviously water would spill out, but I don't think they let you open them anway.  With the Cabrio, there is a pause button that unlocks the door and allows you to throw in whatever you forgot.

We were SOLD.  Plus, it was ON SALE.  (We also used Giant Eagle gift cards and huge gas perks!) I was pleased that the salesman actually had our best interest in mind.  He could have made a lot of money had we went with the red blue duet washer AND dryer AND two pedestals.  We also got free delivery to our home and removal of the dead washer.

We love it.  It is way quieter than the the other one we had, tells you on the display how long it is going to be and counts down accordingly, and has many more options than the old beast.  So.......... if you are in need of a new washer soon, you should check out the Whirlpool Cabrio.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autism Awareness

Those of you reading this blog who know me personally know that I am passionate about autism awareness.  I have taught children with autism, I have been a registered ABA therapist for two different children with autism, and am a godmother to one sweet girl on the spectrum.  It is a passion that has taught me so much about myself and life, and has taken me on a journey I never imagined I would be on.

I know autism and all the details around it are very controversial.  I can understand that.  I also "get it" because I have a 'side' that I feel strongly about.

Having said that, I am not going to pump you full of my thoughts, theories, stories, concerns, examples, etc.  I'm not even going to get into any sort of detail or descriptions.  This post is to simply tell you about two books that I believe you MUST READ.  Not only should all moms, teachers, and childcare workers read these, but I think everyone should.  I think there are a lot of people out there who have no idea what goes on.  Also, I think there are a lot of people who judge because they don't know.  Educate yourself.

My book choices are as follows (should be read in order):


I know that Jenny McCarthy in and of herself is a little controversial, especially when it comes to her views on autism.  Truly though, that is because people misinterpret or misuse her words.  Most of what is swimming out there that she "believes" isn't even what she says in the books.  It's twisted words just to start a fight.  There are some swear words in her book that I could do without, but generally speaking the books are pretty eye opening.  (And who knows, if I had to go through what she went through, I might have been swearing too!)  If for nothing else, just to understand what parents and loved ones of autistic kids go through.  I promise you will learn *something* if not be overloaded by what you will find.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Here's another easy fall art project for the little ones.  We did this one last year as well.  I got the idea from this cool blog.

I had Little Man color part of a brown paper bag with a brown crayon and part of it with a brown marker.  Then I had him rip it into pieces.  He needed a little help with this since he was only 2 1/2 at the time.  I drew the outline of an acorn and then Little Man glued on the pieces.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How Rude

Why is it that people who are on time are the minority?  It shouldn't be like that.  I am an on time person.  Why I am I punished because you can't get your act together?  Seriously.  It is SO RUDE to be late.  I'm not talking about the occasional lateness.  I understand things happen.  I've been stuck in traffic like everyone else.  I've been ready to walk out the door and spilled my coffee down my pants.  I've been down the street and had to turn around and go home to grab that item I had to have.  This is not what I'm referring to.  I'm referring to the chronic lateness.  The people that just can't get it together.  Why?  Why can't you get it together?  You are basically saying that your time is more important than mine.  How pompous of you.

I also can't stand when people use their kids as an excuse.  Let's keep it real.  You were chronically late before you had kids.  Don't blame your innocent child.  (Again, I understand the occasional blown out diaper, or the last minute change of clothes because of a throw up incident--not talking about this!)  I understand that I don't have a child of my own, but I have worked with children long enough to know that you CAN have a child and be on time.  If I can bundle up 22 six year olds, get them in a straight and quiet line, walk through the building, across the parking lot, and through another building, get them seated and coats off and STILL be on time for music or art or wherever we were going---you should be able to get one child ready to go.  I've also had to get a two year old ready to go... including diaper bag, snack, drinks for both of us, directions to where we were going, and any other thing I needed to take.  Not only are we usually on time, but most of the time we are early.  I promise it can be done.

So I'm not sure what your excuse is, but can we work on this character flaw?  I'd appreciate it.  Thank you!

(NOTE: This post is not about any one person in particular.  Just me sharing one of my pet peeves as I said I would when starting this blog.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I promise I'm not angry with anyone! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Open ended art---sort of

Open ended art is when you give a child some art supplies and let them go at it.  As opposed to saying "we are going to make ____" and direct every step of the art project.  I believe both are beneficial.

This is an open ended art project with a little bit of help.

Little Man asked to do an art project out of the middle of nowhere.  Then he decided he wanted to make a giraffe.  I told him I'd look for a giraffe project online and he said, "You can do it.  Just give it a long neck and some long legs".  Thanks for the vote of confidence Little Man!  Then he started rummaging through the art closet.  He grabbed some pipe cleaners and said, "We can use these for the horns".  He wanted to make sure we used the glue.  He also really, really wanted to use the " 'prinkles" (glitter).  He said we could use it for grass.  (We didn't have green glitter, so we used gold and made "dirt" or "sand"--you choose!)  He also wanted to use this new little paint dobber thing that we got for the grandparent's day craft.  So I did help out by cutting the pieces, but it was definitely his vision.

(Sorry!  I stand on the opposite side of the island when we do art projects so most of these pictures are sort of upside down.  I'll work on that!)

Little Man put the glue around this all by himself.  I was seriously impressed! :)


I think it turned out great!