Definitely a “best” day

My five-year-old loves to declare: This is my best day ever!  The smallest things bring on this uninhibited joy.  In February, we had a birthday party for our dog.  We made paper hats for her and her dog-friend, Happy.  Best day ever.  We baked a Dutch Apple Pie for no particular reason.  Best day ever.

Yesterday, I had one of my best days ever.  Here is why:

1.  Sunshine.  As we headed out the door to church, I knew it was going to be one of those beautiful, sun-filled days that makes you sure that God created every other season to showcase the stiking contract to sparkling summer.  That’s exactly it: the day seemed to sparkle.  After church, we made the one hour drive to my parents’ home where we were expecting to have a Memorial (Sunday) Picnic with Mom and Dad, Gram, and my sister and husband.  Which brings me to the second reason that yesterday was one of my best days ever…

2.  Kristy & Jake!  My sister is cute and creative and funny.  When I spend time with her, I feel like I am 100% me.  Not that I am a false “me” when I am without her, but when we are together, a little piece of me seems to come back from a quiet sleep.  I like this little bit of me.  I find myself a smidge sillier, a tad more relaxed.  I am nostaligic but present.  I can’t explain it, and perhaps by trying to put that feeling into words, I’ll break the spell.  I just know that when Kristy is around at family gatherings, without even thinking about it, I seek her out.  I notice that she does the same.  Now Jake, the hubby, is another part of the fun puzzle that is our family.  Jake is imaginative and quite reflective.  He is a teacher at the college level (funny that my sister and I are both teachers and married teachers), and I always enjoy hearing his enthusiasm for teaching and creating.  Any gathering with my sister and Jake is a special occasion, and I was happily anticipating this Sunday’s visit.

3.  Cake.  Walking into my parents’ home is always a big event.  The boys scramble into the house like wee puppies, wiggling their way through eager hugs and an enthusiastic mix-breed named Happy (mentioned above).  Hellos and pats on the back greet us as we try to get from door to living room.  This time, Kristy and Mom kept drawing us in.  They couldn’t wait for the surprise.  Turns out, this Memorial Day gathering was also a little celebration in honor of our expected new family member.   They brought me to the diningroom table where a beautiful cake, pretty plates, and a flower arrangement showed that this was not an ordinary Memorial Day picnic.

4.  Flowers.  The flowers were so sweet and festive, and Mom gave them to me to take home.  They are making our diningroom table decided brighter.

5.  Family.  I thought the surprise was the cake and the gifts from my parents and Kristy & Jake.  Nope.  After hanging out for just a little while, our two year old started running out to the driveway, so I followed him…just as my in-laws walked around the corner.  I truly was surprised to see Mom & Dad G., my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two of their kids.  We had a wonderful day–chatting, eating, opening presents, riding bikes, swinging on the swingset, playing Wiffle ball.  We stayed until dark, enjoying every moment.  The boys played so hard and were so sleepy.  We packed them up and headed home.  Perfect…

Sunday was definitely one of the best days I’ve ever had.  In my next post, I’ll share some photographs of the wonderful gifts that Baby and I received.  I’m feeling so loved!  Thanks, Mom, for putting the celebration together, and thanks to the rest of the family who helped us celebrate and brought yummy food.

The news is in…

The wait is over. I hate to be a tease, but I won’t be making any big announcements just yet. Trust me…you’ll be in on every step of our new adventure. For now, you can expect lots of new summery content. Once the kiddos are in bed tonight, I hope to be blogging away, sharing the wonderful day my family had yesterday.

With lots of gratitude and love,
Erica G

Waiting…

We are waiting for some important news.  I’m finding it hard to think about much else, so blog posts aren’t really coming together in coherent ways.  I’ll be back with my head on straight. (Or as close as possible!)

Loving

 

(Valentine's Day 2007)

 

Today I am loving…
:: that our second bout with pink eye is clearing up.

:: that the “big one” is so sweet to his little brother when the “little one” isn’t feeling well

:: that the rain might actually stop on Saturday (please!).

:: that Baby is due in six weeks!!

:: that organizing efforts in our bedroom might actually be paying off.

:: that oven-fried chicken and broccoli slaw are on the menu for tonight.

:: Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden (started on Monday…can’t vouch for the whole book yet!).

:: Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl (finished on Monday).

:: the newest issue of Country Living.

:: the game of catch going on between Daddy and little J as I type this.

:: this little boy bedroom

:: the potential for a productive day.  Better get started…

Scenes from our Saturday

We have a quiet weekend ahead, and I am grateful.  This week was a busy and challenging one.  My sweet hubby was away from us for two nights as he traveled for his career.  Believe it or not, I have not been apart from my husband for more than one night over almost 10 years of marriage.  The little boys and I managed, but what a celebration when Daddy returned!

We are having a truly lazy Saturday morning while Daddy attends the men’s group at church.  I don’t know what the afternoon has in store for us, but I’m glad that nothing is planned.  Our older son is dealing with pink eye, and we’re just waiting for symptoms to show up in the little man.  We’re resting, taking eye drops, reading, watching a DVD, and enjoying some old fashioned oatmeal with jam and honey stirred in.   (The pediatrician assured us that 24 hours of the drops would mean that the pink eye is no longer contagious, so we’re still on for the Sunday School program.)

I’m doing some cleaning.  Just making up for a week that was out of our routine and left this ‘n that scattered around the house.  I gathered my Mothers’ Day cards and displayed all the love I received this week.

What does your weekend look like?

Friends…

I have always been shy.  Very introverted.  And yet, I do love people.  I love to really connect with people in great conversations.  I love to share my own stories and hear the stories of others.  I am energized by meaningful encounters with semi-strangers and even more so, by reconnecting with longtime friends.  So what does that mean?  I still feel shy.  I still feel very anxious (*very*) about any social gathering.  [Embarrassing confession] I replay conversations in my head for hours, certain that I sounded like an idiot or committed some unpardonable faux pas.  Mostly, I agonize about unintentionally hurting someone with my words.  On the flip side, I love teaching and leading.  I even enjoy public speaking (gasp!).  I guess people are complex, and I’m one of them.

Recently, I’ve had several visits with friends that really lifted my spirits and “filled my cup.”  On April 30, three scrapbooking friends came over to look through the new Creative Memories catalog.  I know it was “business,” but I enjoy being a hostess, and I really love spending time with these ladies, no matter the occasion.  I served the (above) lemon cake with red raspberries, a bacon & cheese quiche, and fruit salad.

On Tuesday evening, a fellow kindergarten mom hosted a time of fellowship and prayer in her home.  I had such a nice time.  We had yummy chocolate fondue, and we just talked and talked.  I felt so good having a chance to talk about my little man, our job situation, and the upcoming arrival of our third child.  I left feeling refreshed and motivated.  

Finally, I invite you to visit one of my blog friends, Emily from Watkins Every Flavor Beans.   Emily has graciously featured my Lenten Tree in her ongoing conversation about children & prayer.  I’m honored.  Emily is a wonderful blogger.  She’s crafty, smart, and such an inspiration as a mother and a teacher (of her own kiddos).  I recently added her to my list of links.

One Hour per Day



A lot can get done in one hour per day. I could have a truly clean, functional bedroom closet. I could probably paint my kitchen cabinets or edit my poetry manuscript that is still sitting sadly under my bed. But this week, I am participating in the “Kids Clothes Week Challenge” from the blog Elsie Marley.  I only have one goal: to knit the tiny Baby Bolero from One Skein

One hour per day to a cozy little something for our summer baby.  I’m excited!

Happy Mothers’ Day

The great conundrum:  How do you write “Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers'” Day?  Of course, this question goes for the days when we celebrate Fathers and Veterans and probably a few that I can’t think of right now, too.  A true concensus doesn’t seem to exist.  I have consulted a variety of reliable and reputable sources, but even those resources don’t agree.  So I’ve made my own decision.  I choose the plural possessive: Mothers’ Day.  I have concluded that this is a day belonging to all mothers.  A plural noun having possession over a thing needs an “s”- apostrophe.

Okay…that’s enough of a grammar lesson for today…

Happy Mothers’ Day, blog readers!  I love Mothers’ Day.  I love the sweet, messy crafts from little ones, the funny breakfast in bed, and the general sense that motherhood is being celebrated.  It feels like an extra birthday.  And just like I have a renewed sense of objective and commitment on my birthday, I feel that same sense on Mothers’ Day.  I think of my birthday and Mothers’ Day in the same way that I think about New Year’s Day.  I love the feeling of starting fresh, of making the next year better.  I don’t believe in waiting for a special day to show my mom how I feel about her, but Mothers’ Day offers another occasion for showing my mom, my grandma, and my mom-in-law how we appreciate them.  This year, I shared photographs with all three of these extra special ladies in little albums. 

My Mothers’ Day has been sweet.  I had toast and tea in bed (much of which my toddler ate).  My amazing husband gave me the prettiest blouse and two maternity t-shirts and slacks.  So cute!  And from my boys (with help from Daddy), I received a dainty silver bracelet with three little hearts…one for each child.  After breakfast, we dressed for the day, enjoyed our Sunday School time, and attended church.  Later, we met my mom and dad for lunch at Chili’s (one of my favorites).  Then, we parted ways, and my little foursome headed to the library where my husband graciously gave me a few minutes to browse on my own.  It is a beautiful sunny day, and I think we will end it with a big walk at the park.  Maybe we’ll even bring the dog.

How did you fill this Mothers’ Day?

Celebrate!

We’re celebrating…

:: The semester’s grades have been submitted!

:: No more papers to grade

:: No more classes to attend

:: Work-a-thon Day at the school!  (I love that the school makes this special commitment to community service.  Even for kindergarteners!)

:: The day is sunny and mild

:: Time to make baby plans!

Cheers!

Why I hate grading…

I teach a college writing class, a seminar actually. I’ve been teaching this class (with constant variations) at this institution for four years, eight semesters. I love the class. I love choosing readings and hearing my students discuss them. I love designing assignments and watching my students’ imaginations making meaning from my prompt, producing work that I rarely expect and often admire. I love talking about writing, and I love helping others write pieces that they can celebrate.

But I hate grading.

I hate putting an artificial value (letter grade) on something that contains a piece of someone’s soul.

Am I being overly dramatic? Isn’t this just a required course to make sure students have some basic communication skills? To the first: perhaps I am. To the second: Maybe the course seems like “just a requirement” to other people, but it is not that to me, and I would venture a confident guess that the majority of my students don’t think so either…after they’ve completed the class.

I am not a brilliant professor. I’m not even a professor…just a lowly adjunct. I am not a profound lecturer. I rarely lecture at all. But I give my class space. I give them space to write things that matter to them. I give them space to write in casual, personal voices and passionate, persuasive voices. I give them room to make mistakes, revise, and take risks. They make great strides in valuing their own insights as much as (hopefully more than) how many lines go in a heading, how to create an MLA citation page, and what the heck a semicolon is really for. How do I put a letter on that?

The need for rankings and objective values pushes me to assign a measurement to the work accomplished in my course.  No matter how much I adjust my requirements and objectives, I am left with the conviction that declaring A, B, or C belittles my careful efforts to make the process of fully engaging in my seminar real.  Worse than that, the grading process belittles my students’ progress in the risk-taking, word-crafting, and soul-baring that happens so beautifully from semester’s start to finish.

I’ll be back when the dreaded task is through.