Archive for May 2013

Ending on a high note

Friday, May 31, 2013

A week from today this campus life will be in the record books.  Last quarter, I seriously contemplated throwing in the towel.  Every single Monday, Wednesday and Friday I dreaded going to class.  And when I wasn’t in class, I thought about how much I dreaded going back to campus.  The professors were downers, the subjects were somber and I had to leave my house at zero dark thirty. Being that I’m someone who loves to laugh—a lot-- spending my time sitting in a classroom discussing serious, pointless, depressing issues with unengaged people sucked the life right out of me.  It felt like a huge waste of time and money.  That was then.  This is now.

Nine weeks ago, as I went through the familiar routine of first class meetings, reading through the syllabus and the obligatory “getting to know each other” icebreakers, it felt like quarter one all over again.  Both of my professors were vibrant and positive.  The courses were vital to launching me into my fall internship and my classmates were enthusiastic and fun loving.  The icing on the cake was being paired up with a cooperating teacher for my high school practicum (40 hours in a classroom setting where teaching two lessons is required) who has a similar story.  Like me, she went back to school for her teaching certificate in her early 40’s after staying home with her 4 kids for 15 years.  She’s been teaching English for the last four years and I’m in awe of what I’ve learned under her wings.  We have so much fun together.

And while I’m on a roll, one other perk: Just two weeks into the quarter, I noticed how I was coming home and sharing story after story about how much fun I was having with two of my classmates, Maddie and Jeremy.  Not only are they two of the nicest people you’ve ever met but they crack me up for 4 straight hours every Tuesday and Thursday. We banter together and mock each other (my love language) as if we all came from the same family. Their weekly presence has made me realize how much I was lacking joy and laughter in my life for the previous 3 months.  Jeremy is like a roving P.E. teacher with his minivan full of sports equipment.  In between classes, he's usually outside gathering a crowd to toss the frisbee around.  At the end of class, he'll talk a few of us into a game of pickleball.  Maddie is 24 with a maturity beyond her years.  She does improv on the side so it's no wonder she keeps me in stitches.  Not knowing much about either of us except that we both want to teach middle school English, our professor teamed us up to teach 5 lessons together at the high school.  She was a natural and I mostly let her make me look good.  

Finally, the last item to check off my list before being launched into the public school classroom is a student teaching placement for the fall.  That official email came 10 days ago.  I’ll be at a middle school just 3 miles away from my house in a 6th grade Language Arts classroom.  My cooperating teacher is a lovely lady just a couple years shy of retirement.  I was in her class twice a week from January through May last year and we got along famously.  After spending the last two months with high school juniors, and confirming that age group is not for me, I am so excited to get back to a younger crowd.  

Here’s to ending on a high note!!!

I adore this two young'ns!


Quelci: one year later

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When someone learns my sophomore son has a girlfriend, I'm always asked the same two questions: "Do you like her?" and "How long have they been dating?" My answers: "Yes" and  "One year today."  That's a long time in high school.

I really want to write a detailed post all about when they met, how it's been as a mom watching her son become smitten, and all the qualities I like about Kelci but I'm still treading on thin ice with regard to my interest in Quinn's personal life.  I never thought I would be more irritating to him in high school than I was in middle school but that's the status of our relationship these days.  I don't want to risk adding more fuel to the fire therefore, I will refrain from saying anything more than I thought it was really cute when, after they hit the 6-month mark, my girlfriend asked "Is it time to start calling them 'Quelci'?"  Just like Brangelina or Bennifer. Get it?  Of course I don't say it in front of them but now that we're at the one-year anniversary, I think they've crossed over into the one-name category whether they know it or not.

Happy Anniversary, you two!


Jr. Ski to Sea

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yesterday marked the end of an era in the Carpenter household: our last Junior Ski to Sea race in the elementary school division—and what a way to finish!  Ben and his teammates pulled off a first place win in the boys’ division but none of it came without a few glitches.  The race consists of 5 legs: a bike, run, three-legged race, soccer dribble and obstacle course.  This event is a big deal in our community and an even bigger deal if you’re the youngest brother in a family of competitors.  Most kids start in February deciding on their team name, the t-shirt design and who will take each leg. To be honest, the one thing I do dread every year is the question: “which parent wants to take care of the shirts??”  Fortunately, Will (our biker) secured a sponsor for the team.  A local biking apparel retailer—a huge shout out to Disidual!) agreed to furnish the boys with t-shirts, sweatpants, beanies and sunglasses in exchange for a team photo.  I’d say they got quite a bit of publicity while the boys waited on the podium.
At last year’s race, “The Hot Rods” took 3rd place and were determined to finish out 5th grade as the reigning champs.  But it did not look too promising at the beginning.  Our runner was in 5th place as he handed off to the three-legged team.  These boys lost their Velcro ankle strap at least 4 times before they could gain any momentum.  They made up for it by the time they handed off to the biker.  While waiting to see the our biker dismount and hand off to Ben, a girl came out of nowhere and was easily 2 minutes ahead of the next competitor.  We figured they had no chance of placing at this point—until we learned she was part of a co-ed team.  Along came 3 other boys to take off dribbling their soccer ball down the field.  Lo and behold, Ben appeared and passed all 3 of them just in time to hand off to Bryan who would finish it off with the obstacle course.  Bryan’s bad case of nerves caused two puking pit stops both up and down the stairs.  Not to be deterred by a little vomit, he pushed through and was the second participant to ring the bell.
After the medal ceremony, we were making the hike back to our car when Ben’s proud grandma said, “All 3 of my grandsons were on a first place team in Junior Ski to Sea.”  When we got home and announced the results to Ian, he reminded us, “my team got first in 4th AND 5th grades so I have more swag!”   Such a supportive brother. 
I tried to dig up old photos from past year’s races and all I could find was a page in Ian’s scrapbook from 4th grade—so his claim really is true.  I took a snapshot of the article and photo with my phone.  I also found a past post with the event brochure that had Ben obscurely placed in the lower right corner when he was 6 years old. 
Regardless of what place they came in, I love the community support as we all cheer our kids on in the spirit of low stakes competition.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  Well done, Team Disidual!

Ian's Team Lemon Lime 2009



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

This morning I received a text from my friend Katie giving me an update on a situation we were praying about yesterday.  She is such a prayer warrior and one of the first people I think of contacting when I am in crisis.  (I'm sure she appreciates that title.)  I love that part of our friendship that has spanned the last 20+ years.  When I wrote her back, I suggested we list those things we are thankful for and share them with each other.  When we are in the midst of crisis, it's so easy to lose sight of those things.  Within minutes of my suggestion, I got 3 texts filled with all the blessings Katie is counting and holding onto while she waits for answers.  I was so encouraged.  I sat in Target parking lot this morning and sent my list back to her.  As I was driving home, I thought "I should post this on Facebook or my blog."  So here's what I have so far.........

  • No matter what our financial state is, we have always been blessed with a great vacation every single year for the last 20 years. 
  • A relentless hope that buoys me in the midst of the storms.
  • The resources for my boys to be able to enjoy soccer, mountain biking, snowboarding and skiing.
  • Our parents are still healthy as they age.
  • A faithful mentor that loves me unconditionally, constantly affirms me and challenges me in my walk with God.
  • Deep, lasting friendships.
  • Health and energy to be active and enjoy life.
  • A husband that fathers intentionally and dies to himself to provide his family's needs (and wants.)
  • A home and property that blesses my family and my community.
What's on your list????  There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for!

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