Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Christmas Cutie

Hit the Lights

Last Saturday, our family took advantage of the 70-degree temps and put up our Christmas decorations outside:


We simply put a wreath on our front door, a deer in our front yard, and some candy canes connected with strings of white lights along our sidewalk.When it comes to Christmas decorations, we're not the Griswold family, but Tal and I try to have some holiday spirit and spread some Christmas cheer. :-)



Give Thanks

Our Thanksgiving weekend in Salter Path was filled with food, fellowship, and relaxation. After our Thanksgiving dinner, everyone helped put up Christmas decorations at Gran Gran's house. For the rest of the weekend, everyone was content to take naps, watch football and Christmas movies, and do a little Black Friday shopping. Good times!

Savannah playing with Aunt EJ

Swinging on Gran Gran's porch

Eating cake after our Thanksgiving feast

Christmas decorations at Gran Gran's house

Storytime with Savannah

Thankfully, it seems (for now) that Savannah has inherited my love for reading.



Recently, Savannah turned into a storyteller.


Taking cues from her teachers, Savannah sits on her stool and holds open the book so everyone can see the pictures.



It's adorable to watch Savannah turn the pages, point out items in the pictures, and then retell (or make up) the story in her own words:
"That girl's sick."
"Going to see the doctor."
"The phone rings."
"Lookie there. Girl's crying."
"Goodnight moon."
"Goodnight comb."
"Goodnight kittens."
Goodnight everyone."

Beauty Shop

Earlier this week, Savannah finished her bath and wanted to "fix" Tal's hair. Tal was a good sport and let Savannah brush his hair, add bows, and make ponytails. Too cute!

Names and Places

Shortly after Savannah was born, Tal and I vowed that Savannah would be able to recall a few key pieces of information before she started kindergarten: her first and last name, her mommy and daddy's first and last names, her address, etc. 

Well, Savannah is making progress! About year ago, Grandma Barbara helped Savannah learn the towns where some of our family members live:

Tal: Where does Grandma live?
Savannah: S*** P***

Tal: Where does Uncle Kenny live?
Savannah: B***t

Tal: Where do Uncle Benny and Aunt EJ live?
Savannah: M***d

Tal: Where does Savannah live?
Savannah: R***

And within the last few weeks, Savannah learned to recall the street she lives on, her first and last name, and the full names of a few family members:

Tal: What street is your house on?
Savannah: P*** M*** C***

Tal: What's your name?
Savannah: My name Banna A***

Tal: What is Daddy's name?
Savannah: Tal A***

Tal: What is Mommy's name?
Savannah: Mommy A*** (We're still working on that one. :-))

Tal: What is Uncle Benny's name?
Savannah: Uncle Benny A***

Next up? Tal and I are going to help Savannah learn her full name: Savannah Elaine A***.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Last weekend, I put up our Christmas tree--for the first time in 3 years! 

At Christmas 2009, Savannah was crawling, and I feared a Christmas tree catastrophe (tipping over the tree, eating plastic pine needles, etc.). 

Last year, Tal and I were too pooped to mess with Christmas decorations after moving into our new house a few weeks earlier.

This year, however, Savannah has been begging me for weeks to "git da Kissnas tee, Mommy."

On Saturday, Savannah decorated the lower half of our tree with kid-friendly ornaments from the Dollar Tree (candy canes, icicles, pine cones, and drums), while I hung more sentimental ornaments up above (and out of Savannah's reach).

I can already tell that this is going to be a special Christmas. Savannah is already talking about the Christmas tree, ornaments, and pretty lights, as well as getting a bicycle for Christmas. Is Santa listening?

Hide and Seek

Savannah, who is almost 3 years old, still struggles to fall and stay asleep at night.

Tal and I joke that Savannah is afraid that she's going to miss something if she falls asleep.

Seriously, though, I think our sweet girl would much rather cuddle with Mommy and Daddy than sleep in her bedroom all by herself.

Last week, Savannah dragged her baby into the upstairs loft area so she could see me and Tal watching TV below. Tal and I found Savannah asleep under the office desk. Cutest thing ever!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hopes Deferred

My goal of becoming a Nationally Board certified teacher will have to wait. Today I found out that I did not pass National Boards by 4 points.

After 14 months of writing and 6 long months of waiting for my scores, I didn't prepare myself for the possibility of bad news.

I'm disappointed. I feel like I've let down myself and my family.  I think about all of the time, energy and money I've invested, as well as all of the sacrifices my family has made over the last 20 months.

Truthfully, I don't want to go through the National Boards process again. I don't want to shell out hundreds of dollars in retake fees. I don't want to spend my evenings, weekends, and Christmas vacation writing and studying. I don't want National Boards to take me away from my time with Tal and Savannah. I don't want to wait another year to find out if I'm a National Board certified teacher. What if I don't pass the second time around?

However, I remind myself that I only need to improve my score by FOUR points. Basically, I'll pass if I show any improvement the second time around. I also tell myself that National Boards is a grueling process and that only a small percentage of candidates pass the first time around. I also remind myself that a lot of my accomplishments haven't come easily. I haven't gotten every job that I've applied for. I wasn't accepted at my top college pick the first time. I didn't get into grad school the first time. I had to retake the GRE. Almost everything I've achieved has been through hard work and perseverance.

I'm allowing myself to cry and mope today. Starting tomorrow, however, I'm going to put on my game face and get started on National Boards again. Over the next 5 months, I'm going rewrite one of my portfolio entries and perhaps retake 3 assessment exercises before the April deadline. I'm going to pour my heart and soul into National Boards again and believe for good news in November 2012. I'm not going to give up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Community Helpers

Savannah is fascinated with fire trucks (and police cars and ambulances, too).

She loves to say:
"Look, Mommy! There's a fire truck."
"Firemen help people."
"Take people to the hospital."

On Saturday, Savannah (with her Uncle Benny) saw a fire truck up-close-and-personal when a local firefighter (and family friend) stopped by to check out our fence building project for a few minutes.

Higher, Higher

Whenever we're in Salter Path, Savannah begs to swing. On her swing, Grandma's swing, or Gran Gran's doesn't matter. Our girl just loves to swing.

Savannah loves to squeal, "Higher, Higher, Grandma!"  I love the photos below because they capture Savannah's delight and her love for her Grandma Barbara:

Fall Fun

On Saturday afternoon, Savannah and I escaped to the park, while the rest of the family built Grandma Barbara's fence. With blue skies and temps in the 60's, it was a beautiful fall day for Savannah to play on the slide, swings, and monkey bars.


Fenced In

We spent Veteran's Day weekend in Salter Path, where the whole family pitched in to rebuild Grandma Barbara's fence that Hurricane Irene blew over in August.



First, Tal and Uncle Kenny cut down the remainder of the old fence, which Tal's dad built over 20 years ago:

Next, everyone worked together to dig the post holes and fill them with cement:

 Ta-da! About 6 hours later, here's the completed fence. Grandma Barbara loves the result!