Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Memories.....light the corners of my mind....

Home is not a place I go very often and even when I do so many things are so different. Life just goes on! I am not saying that everything should shut down or become stagnant but I believe that once you leave home for good...it's hard to imagine things being different. I say all of these things because, while I am happy with my life right now, going home always brings back so many memories. One of the things I miss the most about home is the HUGE sky we have. Yes, Odessa is ugly. Yes, the oil-field smells bad. Yes, people are a little different out here. But one things always stays the same and that is the sky. It is so vast, and huge, and basically indescribable. I took a few pictures on our way into town because a gorgeous sunset can make me cry and this was an amazing sunset. :)

Cool image of the wind turbines!

Family Time

We've been in Odessa since Saturday. We really haven't done much of substance...excluding the late night run to Toys-R-Us and Best Buy the other night! My youngest brother and his wife couldn't be here this year for Christmas because he is on deployment but everyone else is here. Everyone includes my family, my brother Charles, Kara and my niece Cassie, and Christine and her boyfriend Tim. We've laughed and joked and eaten way too much food and we haven't even started Christmas Eve dinner yet! I think Maddie has enjoyed playing with Cassie and having all the family around and I know I have too. Holidays are too far apart and spending time with the family is so much fun!

I hope that everyone has a great Christmas or winter celebration!!

Yes, this is my brother! Sorry ladies...he's taken!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2 days

Many of my non-educator friends love to tease me about how "easy" my job must be and that they would love to "have the whole summer off". I want to share a snippet in the day of Mrs.D, 8th grade science teacher:)

6:00 am - Hit the snooze button about 2 times.
6:20 am - Drag my lazy self into the shower...only turning on half the bathroom lights to allow my eyes to adjust. Will rolls out of bed and gets Maddie up and gets her dressed for school.
7:00 am - This is the time we should be out the door but I am making my coffee, Will is getting Maddie's breakfast together, and Maddie is running around doing whatever she feels is important.
7:15 am - We are finally out the door and we wave goodbye to daddy!
7:50 am - Get to the church, take Maddie and all her stuff into the building...put stuff in cubbie, log in medication, give hugs and kisses and I'm out the door!
8:10 am - I am about 5 minutes late to work...I rush past the office and hope the principals didn't see me!
8:11 am - There are about 5 kids sitting in the hall by my door waiting for me. ( They are supposed to wait in the gym so how are they always here?)
8:12 am - Let the kids in my room, drop off my stuff and head to the gym to get the rest of my tutorial kids. ( I have tutorials on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings)
8:14 am - Try to organzie the kids, figure out what they need and start helping them with their assignments, making corrections, re-teaching etc...
8:40 am - The bell rings and here come all the kids...I realize that because I was late I forgot to pick up my roll sheets...head to the office aviod all the kids in the hall(good luck) grab sheets, sign in, and head back to class.
8:50 am - 1st period starts and I have my next break @ 12:15
9:41 am - 2nd period...I need to go to the bathroom but I can't go now! This class might cause an explosion!
10:33 am - 3rd period...29 kids in this class...the biggest one I have this year (thank you shelley and joni!) but man...they are sitting everywhere! Really I have no empty seats folks!
11:25 am - 4th period ok now I really need to go to the bathroom but there is just no time!
12:15 pm - I have taught 4 classes and now I have 20 minutes to eat my lunch and call that parent back...:)
12:35 pm - head to office to talk to my AP about a situation
12:45 pm - cafeteria duty...yes that's right! good times!! I have 35 minutes of cafeteria duty during my conference period. During my duty time We'll have about 300 kids come through...it's loud...the cafeteria is designed to only seat about 250 so we have to get them in and get them out.
1:20 - Done with cafeteria duty...head back to room to get the tests I need to grade, go to workroom, fight with the scan-tron machine, cuss a little bit give up and head back to room. Check email, grade papers, enter grades online, return the 20 emails I missed while on duty, call parents and try to get caught up on lesson plans. Chances are I have to sit in on an ARD meeting, help cover a class, or meet with my dept. head about testing or district stuff.
2:00 pm - 6th period (duhm duhm duhm) this is the most insane time of the day regardless of the class I have because it is the period after lunch and they are so hyped up I'm not sure we'll survive this!
2:58pm - 7th period - the end is in sight! whew! I think I forgot to go to the bathroom and now I have to wait until 3:50! urgh!!!!!
3:50 pm - bell rings and class is over. I rush to the bathroom and head to my duty spot outside...I get to direct traffic once a week in front of the school! It's madness!!!
4:00 pm back into the building, grade more papers, call more parents, answer more emails, put my head on my desk and yearn for coffee and chocolate!
5:00 pm - tear myself away from my desk/meetings and head to get Maddie...it's been a long day for both of us.
6:00 pm - finally home and we are all beat. Throw something together for dinner and work in some play time for Maddie then its bath, brush teeth, take medicine, read stories and bed time.
10:00 pm - head to bed to do it all over again.

This is not to make anyone feel bad for me because I LOVE my job but let me tell you...I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAY BREAK!!!!!!!

:D I had to post this picture because she is just such a happy girl!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

haha! now you can see what a nerd I am!

This year I decided to get my niece Cassie a nap mat for Christmas...after discovering how expensive they are I decided I would make one! I made it out of Strawberry Shortcake printed fleece with a soft pink blanket. If I do say so myself...it turned out pretty cute!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cookies with Santa!

Yep! That's Santa Clause at my front door! Our friends Moe and Elizabeth helped us plan everything out .... including Moe dressing as Santa. We invited our friends and their kiddos to join us at our house on Saturday for a visit with Santa. The kids were running around the house like crazy until the doorbell rang! The kids all just stopped! We lined them up at the front door and there he was!Madeline and Harley helped Santa find a place to sit and the kids sat on the floor in front of him. It was soo cute! The kids just kept staring at him, they were really surprised!

Once he was seated and the kids were ready Santa read us the Christmas story. He interacted with the kids and had the most amazing laugh! He was like the real deal:) The kids were so amazed by him...they listened to his story...laughed at him....answered his questions and were such sweet babies!

After the story time was over the kids got to sit with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Madeline's turn was hilarious! She told Santa that she wanted him to bring her some Easter Eggs so that the Easter Bunny could hide them in her yard!!!!!! Seriously folks! I kid you not! And she wanted them in all colors....so guess who's getting Easter Eggs in their stocking? Yes ma'am, my daughter!
Will got to see Santa off...I wonder where the sleigh was????

Look at that angel baby!!!!!!!

This holiday season has been so magical with Madeline...she is so serious about things and she loved decorating the house, she screams every time she sees Christmas lights and talks non-stop about baby Jesus and how he was born in Bethlehem. I feel like Christmas has never been so special as now, when we get to share it with Maddie!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Madeline's Christmas Program

Last Monday was Madeline's Christmas program at her school. Bill and Kathy stayed over from Thanksgiving to watch her grand debut! lol! I say that because if you have ever attended a "concert" performed by typical 3 and 4 year olds you know where this is headed! We fed and dressed Maddie, took some pictures and headed off for the church. We arrived early only to find all the kids and parents milling around in various stage of chaos! We dropped her off in her room and found a seat in the sanctuary. When they came out we were so excited to see her in the middle of the front row. She looked so pretty and grown up that I almost cried:( They were so fun to watch because they were watching everything around them. The boy next to Maddie kept lifting his shirt up and rubbing his belly which was hilarious!!! Then next thing we know, Madeline fell off the step! It was so funny! She just was standing and then she fell and then she was back up! The program was so cute and the kids were adorable:) Here are some pictures from that night!

The 3 year old group.

Maddie and the belly boy
Falling Down.....

...dusting it off! lol:)

The two of us before the program

Daddy's beautiful girl!

dancing in her pretty dress!

thanksgiving parts 2 and 3!

The week of Thanksgiving started early for the Duncan Clan! Will and Bill met up on Tuesday for a couple of man-filled days of hunting. Kathy drove in on Tuesday afternoon to spend time with Madeline and me. Wednesday we got up and headed to Target for some holiday shopping. She and I have been trying to figure out a good way to teach Maddie about Christmas and helping those less fortunate. Kathy came up with the idea of shopping for a needy child or family and having Madeline help out. I talked to Maddie on the way to Target about what we were doing and why were were doing it. We decided to buy some things for a family at my school. Madeline was so good! She picked out clothes and toys for a 3yr old girl and a 4 yr old boy and not once asked if she could have something or get upset about not getting to keep the purchases! She was so cute saying things like, "I think the little girl would like these dolls" and "My friends like pirates so I think the little boy would like that pirate shirt!" She was so mature and has such a generous heart! My baby is growing to be a beautiful person!!!

Thursday morning we got up and started to make the pies...
here are Kathy and Maddie working away in the kitchen!
It was just the 5 of us on Thanksgiving Day. We shared corn on the cob, roasted green beans and brussell sprouts, mashed potatoes and prime rib cooked on the grill. A very simple dinner that was so yummy!Maddie and Will after our big meal!
Kathy and me:) We were so full!

Friday, November 28, 2008

thanksgiving part 1....

This holiday season has begun with a bang in the Duncan home! On Friday, my dad and step-mom came into town for the weekend. Maddie was so excited when she saw them she, powered by the energy only a sugar-filled cupcake and no nap can provide, ran around the house in circles just laughing and screaming! It was hilarious and madness all at the same time. So Saturday, Will and dad went outside and started cooking and hanging Christmas lights. The morning was so pretty, so Denise and Madeline and I celebrated by hitting the mall! lol! We had a great time shopping together and having lunch...such a girly time:) We went home and put Maddie down for a late nap and we got dinner finished up. We had game hens on the grill, confetti corn casserole, and brussel sprouts with green beans. It was a very colorful meal. It was just the 5 of us and we had a really fun time. Dessert was of course, white chocolate ambrosia...we all loved it! Sadly they had to leave on Sunday and they took Madeline with them to Odessa. According to my dad she was a quiet as a mouse in the truck on the way back, but we all know that he's a "little" hard of hearing! :) They dropped her off at Bill and Kathy's house for a few days and then she came home with Kathy on Tuesday.

Starting our Thanksgiving meal.

Maddie wanted to take a picture of Oma and Gdaddy:)
She does a pretty good job!!

Maddie and Oma!

Looks like Maddie was having fun with Gdaddy's computer!
Just like a Browning:)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


It seems that times flies by so quickly!
Here are some pictures of what we have been up to!
Maddie's ready to go to school!
Playing at the park

Daddy and Maddie on the slide!

Wearing the turkey hat from school!

Momma and Maddie:)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

DC in our future?

Tuesday Will and I attended Fall Preview at Dallas Christian School. For a few years we have been worrying about Madeline starting kindergarten soon because our local ISD seems to be struggling and with both of us working so far from our neighborhood our options for after school care are very limited. After much research we began to toy with the idea of private school rather than public for many reasons. After attending the tour, Will and I both fell in love with the campus and staff members we met at DC and we have submitted our application for Madeline to attend in the Fall of 2009. She will be in a K4 classroom and proceed from there to kindergarten.

Dallas Christian is located in Mesquite north of I30 and east of 635 and is 12 miles from down-town Dallas. I drive by it daily on my way to school and it super easy for Will to get to anf from as well. The campus is approximately 60 acres of land and offers grades PK3 - 12th grade. They are a member of TOPS and have a highly acclaimed academic program. In addition to these things they have a very strong Christian approach to the students education with daily bible classes and weekly chapel.

While we have not given up on the hope of selling the house and moving to a more convenient location for both mine and Will's jobs, right now doesn't seem to be the time for us to move. We are so excited about this prospect for Maddie. The opening date for new applications is December 1st but because we have already submitted our paperwork we should hear something about our status in early December. From there Madeline will have an informal evaluation with DC teachers in the spring and we should know something before summer. We have been praying for God to show us his plan for our family with regards to our house and the community we live in and know that He will lead us in the direction He has chosen for us...we just have to be patient. LOL! Like I am ever patient??

Saturday, November 8, 2008

the kindness of strangers

"I've always relied on the kindness of strangers." Scarlett O'Hara

This weekend Will and his dad went hunting which left the girls at home together. Today we got up and had breakfast and then set out for a morning of errands and shopping! We first went to pick up some stuff for me and then went to Target. Madeline and I go shopping alone all the time but today we crammed lots into one morning. After roaming around Target we were checking out and Maddie announces that she needs to go to the restroom. Uhhhh...ok? I have a basket full of stuff and a dancing 3-yr old who needs to potty NOW. I head towards the restrooms and stop to ask the security guard if I can leave my basket and bags somewhere safe. She smiles and says oh just take it with you. uhhhh....ok? So I take the whole basket and Maddie and go right into the restroom and there were no accidents and no one stopped me. Interesting!

After Target we headed to PetSmart to buy light bulbs for the fish tank. Maddie loves to watch the fish, find the crabs, talk to the kitties and talk to the doggies (from afar that is!). I love taking her to the pet store because she loves it so much! Just as we are getting in line, a dog on a leash barks at Maddie, startles her and next ting I know the light bulbs have hit the floor with a crash and are in a million pieces! The lady in front of us was shocked but only had sweet things to Maddie who was up set about the accident. One of the employees hurried over to clean it up and she actually brought us another package!

Now it is time for lunch and we are headed to Panera. We order and head to a table, I get her set up and ready and realize I have no silverware or drinks.....hmmm, now what? I look around and know that I can walk the 15 yards to the service station but what about Maddie and our stuff? I finally broke down and asked two ladies seated next to us if they would help me keep an eye on Maddie and they were so nice about it! We are halfway through our food and again we have to head for the restroom. I again ask the young couple with a baby if they minded guarding our lunch while we went to the bathroom and the were so willing to help!

I know that if you are still reading this you are wondering where I am going with this. Well here I am! The human race is extremely selfish and self-serving and hurtful towards each other. We have become a cynical society and I must count myself in the category at times. Today though was one of those times where I still see the sense of community and concern for the fellow man.

Thanks to those that help complete strangers and when it's your turn...make an effort...you never know how appreciated it might be:)

BTW....10-0!!!! Let's go Raiders!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's Go Raiders!!!

For those of you that do not follow football, November 1st was a historic day for Texas Tech football! We went up against the #1 ranked UT and won the game by 1 touchdown with 1 second left in the game!!!!!! Will's mom and dad were here for the weekend and we invited our friends the Dixons to cookout and watch some football. Maddie really got into the spirit and was cheering along with everyone else. She's quite a football fan...just like her momma and daddy!

Raider Up!
Long Live the Matador!!

Will lighting the tiki torch so the mesquitos
wouldn't carry us away!


Bill and Kathy

Future Red Raider!

Yum! Cookout goodness

Football fan!

Watching the game

2bits 4bits 6bits a dollar!