Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Privilege Walk

This past week in school, another principal in my district came to my school to lead a diversity awareness activity I'd participated in before in grad school, but this one was a little different.

For those who may not know, the privilege walk involves a facilitator giving series of statements and individuals responding non-verbally by stepping forward or backward, or in the one I did in grad school, we crossed a room in response to the prompts.

The one we did at school this week was much more powerful for me. Though the statements were similar or often times the same, crossing a room did not have as much of an impact on me as having everyone begin at the same point and then need to step forward or backward based on the prompts.

I really had an "aha" moment with this one - how can we expect children to make it to the finish line if they're not even allowed to begin at the same starting line?

I was, predictably, toward the front of the room having been given many privileges. My parents told me I could be anything I wanted. I had way more than 50 books in my home. I never had to go hungry, I studied the culture of my ancestors in elementary school, I went to summer camp and I never had to adjust my mannerisms because of my race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. I graduated from undergrad with zero college debt except for what I stupidly ran up myself on credit cards. I have been very privileged and perhaps a little spoiled.

I just keep having the visual in my head with success being the finish line and seeing kids being pushed back further and further away from the starting line but still being expected to make it without someone helping them get to at least the same spot other kids may be.

I'm still trying to process all of this and what I can do to help my students get to the starting line so they can really take off and get where they want to and need to be.

We're taking the kiddos to the Aronoff Center on Tuesday. Providing these experiences that I simply took for granted I think is a start.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Tour Down Memory Lane

I rarely go back to my hometown of Lebanon, IN. My 10-year High School Reunion was the last occasion I have really been for any length of time. I pretty much went to college, came back for the summer between my freshman and sophomore years and that was it. My mom doesn't live there any more and aside from the visits with my two aunts who live there (which, I am sorry to say are too few and far between), I just haven't felt compelled to go. No offense to my friends that call Lebanon home, it just wasn't for me.

This past weekend however, we had a Westerfield Family Reunion at Memorial Park and when Mom told me about it on Friday I said SURE! Most of my mom's family I haven't seen in ages and Z has never been to Lebanon in her short 3 years of life.

I got to Lebanon a few minutes before we were due to be at the park so Z and I took the grand tour and got some photos of some of my favorite places -

Coming into Lebanon - this is the first exit, out by the Boone County Fairgrounds. Many a 4-H project was entered by yours truly.
This is the front porch of the first house I lived in on Main St. I loved playing on that porch! We had one of those wooden porch swings I remember fondly. We lived there until the summer before Kindergarten.

This is the house we moved into right before Kindergarten. This is the one thing that made me very sad on my visit. This was a great house with awesome trees, including some planted by yours truly and they're mostly gone. The house just looked so run down. The rock is still there by the mailbox though!

This is our house on Washington St. where I spent my high school years. Our band director lived one street over so many many Fridays before band competitions were spent at my house before we snuck over to do something to the outside of his house. Don't worry, we always went back on Sundays to clean it up.

My elementary school which looks pretty much the same. Central stars!
My high school (yes, I skipped visiting the Middle School. Middle School just sucked) which looks pretty much the same from this angle as it did when my parents went there in the 60's.

Alright, there are more photos, but it's taking too many steps to get them where I want them here. Check out the mobile me gallery to see the rest!

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Kitty!

Meet Cici - (we're guessing her name stands for Calico Cat, aren't we clever to figure that out? LOL)

We recently lost our kitty Peanut and I was on Petfinder looking for a new friend for us and for our other kitty Marmalade. I got in contact with a local rescue -

Gail and Robin were at Petsmart in Mason yesterday afternoon and they had this beautiful girl with them. She is so sweet! I've never had a calico before and I'm so happy we chose a one year old cat instead of a kitten. Cici is very loving and after a brief sniff around the house, was on our laps like she'd lived here forever.

Welcome to the family Cici!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Giving up the binky

The binky fairy has come to our house. Z turned 3 right before we went on vacation and we'd told her for a couple of months now that when she was 3, she'd be a big girl and the binky fairy would come to our house and take her binkies and give them to the new babies. Chris' cousin is pregnant and Z got to see her about a month ago and my friend A2 has a new baby she has frequent contact with. The fairy would bring her a big girl toy that babies couldn't have to say thank you for giving her binkies to the babies.

Z was excited! She had picked out this Cinderella doll with a magic wand that made music when you waved the wand in front of Cinderella's necklace. Two of her favorite things - music and princess! She picked out the basket we would put all her binkies in, actually put them in all by herself and helped to set the basket out on the front porch. She said "bye bye binkies!" and waved goodbye and went back into the house.

I went to "check the sprinkler" and placed the doll into the basket, removing the binkies and putting them in my car. A few minutes after I came in, we went to see if the fairy had come and voila! Z's face lit up! Her Cinderella came! She was delighted!

Until it was time to actually go to sleep.

Poor kid was heartbroken. Really. Her binky had been her nap/bed time only friend since she was about a year and a half.

It took all I had NOT to go down to the car and give her a binky. Zoe can definitely throw a fit and has had her share of "I WANT IT" moments but this was "my friend is gone and I am devastated." And forget Cinderella. She represented what Z wanted that was now gone. She said she didn't want to be a big girl and wanted the fairy to bring her binkies back.

So here we are on night 4 sans binky. She's not napped any of those days and I stayed with her the first 2 until she fell asleep. She didn't want anyone to stay with her last night and she cried herself to sleep. Broke my heart.

I know this is what's best for her. She probably had it about 1 year too long but I think I wasn't ready to get rid of this last vestige of my baby being a baby. Last summer we got rid of the crib and the diaper, this summer is binky. I just need to tough it out along with Z. She's not crying right now. I hope she's discovering a way to self-soothe that doesn't involve her binky.

Now, the B? Nope. She can hang on to that.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The little flower on my camera!

I follow a blog of a very nice woman in Michigan - she's a step-mom, loves photography, technology and has two adorable daughters! Except for the two daughters part, we have a lot in common!
She recently posted about the little flower on the settings for her camera and I love the photos she took! Who knew about that little close up thing? Well, professional photographers, maybe. I was delighted! I went outside and tried it on my newly bloomed lilies!

I need to play some more with the lighting but how fun! Thanks @sarahinmi!

Friday, July 3, 2009


We have had our first road trip vacation and survived (almost - we still have to drive home)!!!!

The kids have had fun I think - lots of swimming, beaches, flamingoes, tropical birds and alligators.

Just a few pics to share for now -

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My dainty princess

Today is Z's birthday. 3 years ago right now I was staring in wonder at my very tiny but perfect little girl.

Should I continue the Parsons' tradition of sharing the birth story on the birthday? Sure!

I'd been on bed rest for about 10 days in the hospital. Modified home bed rest (you know how well I follow directions) at the beginning of May which turned into full bed rest at home (again, I can do "one" load of laundry, can't I?) at the end of May and then full hospital bed rest the middle of June. My original due date was July 29th. Ugh. I guess I should have listened to the medical professionals, eh?

So, I can only get up to go potty or shower. Bet your butt I showered every single day! And being 7 almost 8 months pregnant, I had to pee a lot. I made it through several seasons of CSI, CSI Miami and got addicted to Desperate Housewives during this time. Thank goodness for wireless internet, too!

So, my blood pressure kept rising and it finally stayed too elevated and the doctor said we were going to induce me at 35 weeks. Cervadil was put in place and I was also given a happy sleeping pill. Little did I know this would be the last good night's sleep I'd have for a VERY long time!

Sunday morning, June 25th about 7:30 I was taken to labor and delivery. Doc said it would probably take a VERY long time since I was only dilated about 1 cm. Pitosin given via IV and epidural started. Water broke on it's own.

I didn't know how low at the time, but Z's heart rate would take a significant dip each time I had a contraction. Finally about 2:45 Dr. LeMaster's decided to do a c-section because Z just wasn't tolerating the labor. Since she'd be a preemie anyway, we didn't want to take any chances.

3:07 pm Z was born. I wish I'd been able to see - can't wear your glasses during an operation - but they brought her close to my face after they cleaned her up a bit. She had little perfect little face, skinny red limbs, long fingers and toes. Only weighing in at 5 lbs. 4.8 oz., she was so small!

Fortunately, I'd been given steroid shots and her lungs were great and she was able to stay with us the first night in the hospital. No NICU! :-)

She's definitely the best thing that I've ever done. She's a pretty cool kid.

I do have to post, along with this, how she fell asleep yesterday in her new princess dress from Mamaw and tiara watching Little Mermaid received from Uncle Mikey and Aunt Krista for her birthday,
Happy birthday my sweet girl!

Off we go.......

into the wild, blue yonder!

Yeah, that used to drive me crazy as a kid when EVERY time we'd get in the car for a vacation my dad would burst into this song. Now it brings back fond memories of family vacations.

Every summer we'd take off IN THE CAR to a far off destination. Yup. In the car. The destinations were great! I slept most of the way where ever we went in the car. Lucky thing about being a kid!

This will be our first family vacation in the car. We usually make a trek to Florida to visit my dad and SM but it's via a wonderful but alas too expensive now AIRPLANE!

We're taking off tomorrow evening after Chris gets home from work. Here's hoping I get a nap in tomorrow since I'll be taking the first shift driving. Unlucky part about being a grown up.

So, wish us luck that our two VERY chatty children will sleep the night hours and be quietly (ha!) entertained by the various electronic media we'll be taking with us.

Hasta luego amigos!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mobile Me!

My darling husband set me up with a Mobile Me account which will sync ALL my calendars, email and photos! Whoohoo! I can also now add a photo gallery like he has on his blog site. Hmmmm, I might have to migrate over to iWeb stuff and set my blog up that way.....

Gallery will be:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Funny Z story

My girl definitely has a sense of humor. She enjoys a good laugh and can just find fun about anywhere she goes.

We were at J's birthday party today and my pretty princess, in fancy dress, tights and her "ballet flats", lets a very unladylike toot. A big one.

"Oh, that was a fart," says Z. "Excuse me."

All the adults - "Giggle, chuckle, snort."

Next thing, we hear a very large what was probably a drill or some other power tool make a very large toot-ish sound. One of the grown-ups says "Zoe, was that you?"

Z totally got the joke! She laughed and laughed! She covered her mouth and said "No! That was a car!" She laughed as much as the adults did!

I guess you had to be there. But, as the late George Carlin said - "Farts are funny."

Especially when they come from my prissy little girl in a very NON-prissy manner and she just goes on like nothing happened.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Holy crap, I'm glad that's over

The presentation to the school board is finished.  So much time preparing and the anticipation was definitely the worst part.  What should we add?  What should we not include?  What possible questions will they have about this or that?  What should we wear?

All pressing questions.

Anessa and I rocked out the math portion.  I'm still so in awe about how well her kids did last year on the math OAT test.  Completely off the charts with respect to how much progress they made in a year.  

She and I are meeting next week again to work some more on the extended response math journals.  We knocked out the Kindergarten one in a little over an hour.  Hopefully the teachers will think that it's as awesome as we do!

Anyway - BLT team, we knocked it out.  Everyone knew their stuff, we got to show off a little of what we've done at Woodlawn Elementary School.  

Testing's over, let's wrap up this school year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

She's definitely a girl!

My little princess has found a new favorite movie!  Tinkerbell!  

I think we watched it 4 times in the last 2 days.  

This morning we watched it in full princess gear - a Thumbelina dress, ballet slippers and her new crown from Mamaw that lights up and has pink maribou feathers on it.  

Oh, my.  

She's fond of running through the house, more like prancing, singing at the top of her lungs - "I'm a girl, I'm a girl, I'm a girl!"  

Daddy and I just look at each other and say "Oh, yes.  She's definitely a girl!"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Egg Hunt Fun!

Today was the annual Franklin Egg Hunt at the park and what a beautiful day for it! Zoe had a ball and has discovered Tootsie Rolls!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I have loved Tupperware for a LONG time and I've finally decided that I could totally do that! My friend Josie is helping me out and I'm really looking forward to getting some great stuff, meeting new people and making a little extra money!

Fundraiser anyone? Party? You can do it online - you don't even have to clean your house!

Check it out!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Strep, ugh

Z had had this twice already this year. Within about 1 month. C took her to the doc Wednesday and the PNP mentioned the tonsils possibly coming out.

Oh, no.

My husband almost died when he had his tonsils out as a child.

Not that this will necessarily happen, but that's the first thing I thought of.

Hopefully twice will be it, since they won't do anything until she's had it 5 times in one year.

Cross your fingers!

Friday, February 27, 2009


A much underrated thing.

A very rare thing at my home.

It has arrived.


Love both my child and my husband more than I can even express in words BUT.....


See you Sunday my loves.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Name Game

This one's kind of fun!  

Alana Akers Parsons

2.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (mother's middle name; father's middle name)
Maxine Ray

3.NASCAR NAME:(first name of your mother's dad, father's dad)
Charles Armond

4.STAR WARS NAME:(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)

5.DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Tiger

6.SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, town where you were born)
Rachele Indianapolis (had to use former middle name!)

7.SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning)
The Pink Mojito

8.FLY NAME:(first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)

9.STREET NAME:(fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie)
Peppermint Snickerdoodle

10.ROCK STAR NAME:(current pets name, current street name)
Peanut Ascot Glen (HUH?)

11. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on)
Mesha Elizaville

12.YOUR GANGSTA NAME:(first 3 letters of real name plus izzle)

13.YOUR IRAQI.. NAME:(2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, first two letters of your middle name, last two letters of your first name then last three letters of your last name)

14.YOUR GOTH NAME:(black, and the name of one of your pets)
Black Marmalade

15. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fav perfume/cologne, fav candy)

Happy Carmello (HA!)

Come on, play along!  It's fun!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's that time again.....

Parent - Teacher Conferences.

I've been batting about 50% with prescheduled and then I can usually hit another 30-40% with a reminder note sent home.  This is one time of the year (well, two) when the parents get me all to themselves for an entire 20 minutes to discuss only one thing - their child.

Why would you not take advantage of this?  I've got data, people.  I can show you where your child started, where they need to be, the progress towards goals and what the next steps are.  

The kiddos I have this year are almost ALL where they need to be!  All children deserve to make at least a year's worth of growth while they are in my care and we work our BUTTS off!  Come celebrate your child with me!

Even if your child isn't where they "should" be at this time of the year, there has been GROWTH!  And I have a plan if you'll just step out on faith with me and do some leg-work at home.  

I have a child who, when writing a letter to President Obama on inauguration day said "Maybe I'll be the president."  He could be.  

Let's show your children that we are a team and they have done some hard work and while there's more hard work to do, we're going to do it together!

See you Tuesday night.  Or Thursday.


Tell me this one too shall pass.  

I've discovered in my almost 16 years as a teacher, almost 9 years as a step-mother and almost 3 years as a momma that children go through phases.  

Please reassure me that this new behavior is just another phase and it too shall pass.

Z's newest thing is to get out of bed (Great!  She's my independent girl!  Wait a minute.... she's only supposed to be independent when I say it's okay), come into our bedroom and stand by my side of the bed, binkie a-goin' a la' Maggie Simpson.  

That would be fine, well, better at least, if it were a normal wake up time.  Oh, no.  Last night was 12:39 a.m.  Sometimes it's 2, sometimes it's 3 or 4.  During the week - UGH!  I get up at 4:30!!!  So my new wake up time is now sometimes 2, sometimes 3 or sometimes 4.  

Doesn't help either that I just had eye surgery so I won't look cross-eyed at people and am still not 100% back to normal.  

Just tell me that this too shall pass.  

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Car!

We've done our part to stimulate the economy.  This weekend (why is it we always seem to buy new vehicles on President's Day Weekend?) Chris finally, after many many years of waiting got his new Element.  If you know him, you know how hard it is for him to wait for things.  I'm very impressed and proud of his patience!

Play Date!

I am so lucky to have two of the very best friends in the world.  We also happen to have children within about 1 year of each other who get along beautifully!

Since we didn't have to use today as a make-up day for a snow-day, we had a play date!  I have worked with many a toddler in my day and I must say we have 3 of the most beautiful and well-behaved children!  Even as they squeezed on Zoe's tiny little Elmo couch to settle in for an episode of the Backyardigans before lunch, there wasn't a grumble or a fuss.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

Alright, enough is enough

Seriously.  I've now been off school for 4 days.  One day - whoohoo!  Nice to sleep in.  Z and I played outside in the snow.  Fun!

Day 2 - Can't leave the house, too slick.  Chris even got two exits up the road and headed back home.  That's something because he usually will slog through.  Roads were really bad.  

Day 3 - Huh?  Really?  What's going on?  Good thing I had a disc of House episodes to watch!  I did help the neighbor get his car out of the driveway.  Yup, me and an elderly gentleman.  We are strong, what can I say?

Day 4 - Thought we just had a two hour delay.  I was up, showered and drying my hair when the phone buzzes.  Closed.  Ugh.

Four days with no structure is no good for my students either!  There are a couple I know who's parents are working with them, reading their 6-Min
ute Solution passages, practicing math facts, reading stories.  Then there are some who, unfortunately, are not.  Time is always something we are short on at school and now 4 days are gone.  There's work to be done Mother Nature!  Lighten up and let us get back to it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Freezer Full of Food!

My friend Annie and I met this morning at Kroger at 8:30 a.m. and filled our cart up with hamburger, pork tenderloin, ground italian sausage, countless cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef roast, bags of cheese and other add-ins. We took tried and true and some new recipes and cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked!

We have on hand sloppy joes, meat sauce, marinara sauce, lasagne, pork tenderloin, beef roast, 3 casseroles that can be popped into the oven and a meatloaf. I'm so excited!

It was exhausting but I think well worth it. We were even successful at keeping the kitchen clean! All this with a 2 1/2 year old and a 22 month old running around! Whoohoo!

I think I need some more Tupperware, though. Anyone up for a party? :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mmmm, sandy beaches

It is stinkin' cold here in SW Ohio and I can't stand being cold.

We're trying to get some summer plans together and the timing for our annual Florida trek to visit my Dad and Step-mom could possibly coincide with our wedding anniversary this year. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

So, here's my thought and I'm thinking C is going to go along with me. We've never done anything big for our anniversary. Not in what will be this summer 7 years. Dinner, night out, no biggie. Siesta Key is about 45 minutes from my Dad's house. And it's beautiful. And not ridiculously expensive. And did I say beautiful? With warm beaches and non-chain restaurants within a short walk or cab ride. I'm thinking that sounds like an excellent place for an anniversary mini-vaca!

We can leave the kiddos with the grandparents! (isn't that what grandparents are for? :-)

Sounds like a great plan!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fashion Statement


I came home from yoga Saturday morning and my darling Z was showing off her dazzling sense of fashion - monkey nightgown, sunglasses and black patent leather mary janes (no socks). I was cracking up!
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Sunday, January 4, 2009



Meet the 'Oeys. Joey and Zoe. I title this friends because one thing I hope for my daughter is lasting friendships. I hope we have pictures of the 'Oeys for decades to come.

In my life, probably the biggest regret is that I have been terrible at maintaining friendships. I don't mean I need to have 50 close friends. I don't think I could keep up. Friends from my childhood? Hardly any. I have one person I would call a true friend from high school. One. College? Huh uh.

To me a friendship is more than superficial. It's spending time, talking on the phone, seeing little gifts that because you know that person so well you know it will be perfect, listening and being listened to with a swift kick in the rear when you need it.

I have these kind of friends now. You know who you are. I'm so grateful to have adult friendships.

So this is my hope for my daughter, the whole roots and wings thing. Roots being good friends that are there for you no matter what. Long lasting close friendships with people who've been there and done that with you and still like you!
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Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! This is where I am supposed to wax poetic about the previous year and pledge to do certain things in the new year. I know me. Instead of making resolutions like "I will work out 4 times a week for an hour" or "I will eat more vegetables and fruits and less french fries" I need to pick just a couple of things to get better at.

That's how I work in my classroom - I pick a couple of things to do better while continuing to refine previous goals. Last year I said I was going to assess better and make sure my assessments were valid (that includes checklists, notes on students and work samples). This led to being able to better place students in small groups. Also, I was going to be more consistent on follow through with classroom management. Especially tough last year with the class from you know where.

This year at school, I'm focusing on math/problem solving and fluency in reading. So far so good. Last check, all but 1 student was on level for CWPM and the kids are getting much better at working through number stories and explaining their thinking.

So, the other side of my life - the home side. What to pick?

I will be more conscious and aware of spending quality time with my husband. Time is a big thing. So many demands and so little time. Prioritizing and working smarter not harder should help. Also, not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning anymore should give me time in the evenings. Date night will become a must.

I will try some new ideas to maintain the house during the week instead of having to rush around on the weekends. Goes along with the whole time thing - do a little each day along the way to free up some time on the weekends!

I'm now held accountable by writing these words where others can see. No wiggling out of it now!