Thursday, December 31, 2009


In 2009 I vowed to stop the complaining and have a thankful heart. While I wasn't always successful, I feel I had success. In 2009:
  • Mom conquered cancer again!
  • I had the best response from parents during teacher appreciation week.
  • I received all A's in my graduate classes.
  • We got Cat for Jacob. (such a cute and funny cat)
  • We've had more time with Justin.
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed Jacob's 13 year old self.
  • Chelsea has made positive changes in her life.
  • I went on a cruise with Paul who I would marry all over again.

I welcome 2010. Thank you God that I can wake up in the morning with so many blessings.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I saw God wink

God winked at me. I know that he did. Sometimes you just know that you are pleasing God.
We spent hours shopping for Christmas and it was constant conversation with the kids. Jacob (13) loves to hear stories of when he was little. He laughs and smiles and seems to enjoy every story. Justin (21) will say "Mom, I don't want to hear that" or "Why didn't you stop me?" He finds it all so embarrassing. Chelsea (19) smiles when I talk about her silly 2 and 3 year old escapades and I can read her mind, "Mom, is being Mom and I will endure."
God winked at me and loves me and I love the memories. Forward and Upward to more beautiful memories.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My baby

I have been pondering as I go through this afternoon how I can have a more grateful spirit. I so want to say that I already do, but I know that I can get depressed. Can you get depressed when you are grateful? The two seem opposite.

Three years or less ago I was told that my daughter needed a new therapist because they just could not help her. The next therapist said she was dark inside. The next said they had never seen anyone so depressed. Finally we were told we could get hospitalization that she desperately needed if we moved to Texas. Within 2 weeks we had moved.

I don't know if all the hospitalizations helped Chelsea. I don't know how far a long she is now. I don't see the dark side. When I see her, she is happy, thankful, loving and so very much the little girl I love so much.

When you are in the midst of struggle with someone you love...gratitude is not always there, and I think God understands. I will be grateful. Life will always be hard because I feel too much but I am very grateful that Chelsea has come so far.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tis the season

Justin has always wanted to keep the traditions. I remember when he was in 4th grade and demanded we make a gingerbread house because we always make a gingerbread house and it is our tradition!

Now Justin is 21 and working and realizes some things need to be tweaked but we can still have our traditions. We didn't put up the tree on Thanksgiving day because he and Chelsea both went to work in the afternoon. We did put the tree up Friday, we will put the lights on the house today and take in a Christmas movie Sunday. Got to work around the kids work schedules but we have the Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas to all!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No worries

A parent of one of my students likes to say "no worries." Each time she says it I let out a deep breath and release some worry.

We took the time to get away to the coast 2 weeks ago and it was so good to relax. I did lesson plan before the family woke up, but I didn't worry about anything. I do love to lesson plan and figure out how to help my babies (students) learn.

Everyone needs this time to relax. I think I have gone through a period where I refused myself the time to relax and not worry.

I have now found out that not only do I have a mother with cancer but also a father with cancer. Not a good family medical history. I was told by a very wise niece that something good could come. I want to have a spirit of gratitude in the midst of the storm.

No worries.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just Happy

Glad to start the week. The weather has been so Fall like-cool for Texas. This week I teach a Dr. Seuss unit and Bats for our nocturnal unit. Just so very excited. Happy with my children. Chelsea is getting on track, Justin has adjusted to the move to San Antonio and Jacob has made lots of friends at his new school.

And the very, very best...planning our 25th wedding anniversary. Glad to have spent 25 years with Paul. He's such a good person.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


It is hard to have a conversation with dad these days. His memory is gone most of the time. He asks the same questions over and over not remembering things from seconds before.

I was thinking this morning of when I got back from a 3 week trip to Europe. I had just graduated high school. I was ready to move out of the house. I was going to live in a dorm at college. While at Europe, I had made a daily log of what I had done each day. Dad sat and read every page asking me questions about what I had written. At that time there seemed to be very little dad and I had to talk about. I no longer wanted to ride behind him on motorcycle rides or play putt putt golf. Thinking back as a 40 something adult, dad made the effort to be involved in my life by reading my Europe diary.

May every parent be involved in their child's life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Am I willing to learn?

"We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn" Mary Catherine Bateson

Going through lots of thinking when I hear how much my dad has lost with his memory. I want to learn more about what is going on, how to take care of him but there is such a fear of the unknown.

I would like to drive him to Georgia to see his family there, but if he has trouble with bowel movements....can I handle that? What can I handle? I know I am not as fragile as I use to be. Pondering just what I can do. How can I help? Am I willing to learn how to care for him?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Die in Christ

I woke up with the hardest thoughts on my mind. A friend told me that when her children were young she prayed for health, happiness and safety. Now that they are older, she prays that if they die, they die in the Lord.

As much as I hate to think that is where I need to be, I am afraid she is right. The most important thing is that they die in Christ. I have a child with very risky behavior and I know that none of us are destined to stay in this world.

I pray that God is in our hearts and minds this day. Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009


"Neither become obsessed with circumstances nor forego awareness of them."

My brother has been posting from Hua Hu Ching, and this quote I do agree with. I think you have to come to a certain place before you can actually stop obsessing and realize you need to enjoy life. God has taken me through the fire and I do believe that he does not want us to obsess but look to Him.

May we all feel peace.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Passage of time

Jacob is in 8th grade now and informed me that he would start buying his lunch. Since kindergarten I have made the lunches of all 3 kids, now my youngest wants to eat like all his friends--they buy, they don't bring.

When I picked Jacob up from his youth group meeting tonight I wasn't quite sure what to do. My husband and I drove up, we saw Jacob up by the basketball goal. I looked at Paul and said "our oldest would have been mortified if I walked up to get him, but Jacob doesn't look like he will notice us." We waited, then decided to walk up. I tried to be cool. I wanted him just to notice we were there and not embarass him. He looked over and smiled.

Ahhh, the passage of time, but I love every stage of my children's lives.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stop, Look and Listen

A friend was telling me that she was late for work because her and her son saw an animal nursing it's babies and had to stop and see the wonder of an event they hadn't seen before. May we all stop, look and listen. There are so many beauties to behold.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lord Get Me Through Another Day

I pray that when I get frustrated I will ask Brady to pray who says things like, "Thank you for all the kids in this class so that we can be friends."

I ask that when the whole class starts chanting "Go, Frankie, go Frankie, go Frankie" I remember that they are being supportive not trying to disrupt the class next door.

I pray that when I'm asked for the 3rd time if they can feed the fish, I don't get frustrated because we always feed the fish at the same time everyday AND not while we are doing math!

As Jesus said in Luke 18: The Kingdom belongs to the children.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Excellent Communicator

Jesus, the excellent communicator, as I continue with trying to not complain, I find so many biblical principals. I do agree with so many that we need to be able to talk to others about problems, its just so easy to tell EVERYONE, (most of whom do not need to know the complaints), and it fills their day with negativity.

Here is what I have found:

Prov. 11:1-The mouth destroys your neighbor

Prov. 18:21-The tongue has the power to hurt others

Prov. 15:4-The healing tongue brings life

Eph. 4:29-Encouraging words build up

Psalm 118:24-This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Romans 13:10-Love does no harm to its neighbor.

Deut. 12:18-Rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to.

Phillipians 4:11-Be happy whatever the circumstances

1 Thessalonians 5:18-In everything give thanks.

Proverbs 16:24-Pleasant words are a honeycomb.

And finally the Beatitudes: Galatians 5:22 of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, gentleness, and self control.

This tells us our words are important. I have still barely read the Complaint Free World, but it is on my list of things to do. I have been working on the campaign for 3 weeks. Some days are better than others, but I recommend the change of attitude and watching our speech.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I heard someone say that they didn't understand doing a job without getting a paycheck. They didn't understand how someone could volunteer their time. I can not understand how someone can go through life and miss out on helping others without expecting money in return.

I remember getting on my banana seat bike with the flowery basket and riding up to the library to volunteer. I would file cards for the new books coming in (yes, a card for each book--this was before a computer database).

Likewise, I would ride the bike and visit Mrs. Arrington who taught me to embroider pillows, and so many others who showed me their player pianos, taught me about hearing aids, banana trees, introduced me to the Reader's Digest books... I don't know if they were volunteering to help a young child or I was entertaining the elderly with my musings but we both benefitted.

I have a quilt my grandmother made with her quilting group. I've heard so many talk with love about my grandmother and how she helped others. What if she didn't volunteer? How empty.

Paul loves to tell the story of taking the Lord's supper to a shut-in and she was using the bathroom and said, "come on in, I will be here awhile". I was so embarrassed.

Yes, volunteering has its ups and downs but what would life be without it?
Volunteering to me is trying new things. If you aren't good at it, you can try something else. I've stayed connected with my children's schools by volunteering both in the classroom and on the PTA. It has given me respect for the school personnel, but also gives me insight into everything that the school is doing. The one year that I didn't volunteer, even though I was staff at the school, I didn't stay connected. In Acts 20:35 Paul told people “to remember the words of theLord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

(Luke 6:38 NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
(Luke 12:33 NIV) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

I know that by being involved, your life is better.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Justin I've called "The Golden Child" for about 5 years now. He has this attitude that all will go right and even when others might look at his situation and think it is not going right, Justin doesn't ever see it that way.

Situation #1
When Justin was in high school he thought he didn't have a band final. A friend called him, waking him up, and told him there was a band final. With 10 minutes left in the class period Justin runs up to the band director, the band director has him play his part on percussion and all is fine.

Situation #2
Justin needs to get to the airport on Christmas Day after work. He gets to the airport early but all the parking is filled up. He drives around, his flight time getting closer and closer, he finally finds a place to park but its minutes to take off. Paul calls and tells the airline that he is on his way. They hold the plane for him!! He gets on the flight. It's all good.

Situation #3
Justin gets a call that he is late for work. He wakes up immediantly and says he will be right there. The manager meets Justin and sarcastically says, "Like to sleep in?" Several more times the manager makes a comment to Justin like "You are here on time today." Justin starts noticing the manager first and greeting him by name and saying, "How are you?" Next thing that happens is the manager asks Justin if the Hyatt can help him pay for college, help him get a job when he moves to San Antonio, etc...

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: A rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Justin would handle all 4 in a positive way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Complaint Free World

I am 5 days into being more direct with what I need instead of complaining to anyone standing near me. I had an exciting moment today when I realized that when I did talk to the person that I needed to about the problem (instead of 4 others who had no interest in the situation), the problem did get helped.
I think I avoid telling the person I need to approach about problems because I don't want anyone thinking I cannot handle things or I'm not easy going.
It's becoming easier not to complain. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. Sometimes the silence IS golden and I feel better.

Childhood memories

Things I remember
  1. Always able to talk to mom.

Riding the tractor out to the pond to roast hotdogs on a stick.

Swinging on a rope from hay bale to hay bale.

Dad building a skateboard out of a piece of wood and roller skate wheels.

Twirling with my friends to music on the front porch.

Building a tree house with wood we got from the new houses going up around us.

Riding my bike through the woods.

Going to the bowling alley for an ice cream cone.

I love you Mom and Dad for giving me a wonderful childhood.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The albatross

Love the title-I haven't decided if its the worry or this bracelet I'm wearing that is the albatross.

Two things:
1. In 6 months Paul and I will have been married 25 years and I would like to keep him until then. August 18 he goes back to the audiologist. They told him his syptoms sounded like a tumor not just hearing loss.

He also needs to make an appointment with a heart doctor. The constant high blood pressure coupled with his brother needing bypass surgery has him worried.

2. On a lighter note--I'm thinking if I don't put the "Complaint Free World" bracelet on then I don't have to do it. This is only the second day and I made it really well until my Masters class last night then I started being critical of Rachel. Of all people, I pick on someone who has done wrong to no one.

Goal for the day: Be a positive influence

Monday, July 20, 2009


Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Favorite part of life:

Paul: yes, dear (as he makes a face behind a wall)

Me: Are you sticking your tongue out at me?

Jacob: No, but he's making a really weird face.

1st grader: I wouldn't have hit them with a rock on their hand if they wouldn't have put their hand under the rock. (such perfect logic)

Me: Jacob you know you are not allowed to kiss girls.
Jacob: Too late.

Jacob: There was a friend at VBS from my school.
Me: If they're from your school then they are in our neighborhood. You should have them over.
Jacob: It's a girl.
Paul: about you talking at school.

Ms. Sue: Don't get into trouble because I work at a small private school and I don't have bail money.

I just read on my brother's facebook: Choose the path that takes you toward something you love, instead of the one that takes you away from something you fear.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plan for the Best

I'm planning on having a very good day today.

This picture was taken in Thomaston, Georgia but it could be the north side of San Antonio.

Today I have a busy day beginning with doctor visits (these knees are just not working and I'm told they aren't going to without surgery), then I go to work a 6 hour day (not too long), then to the Zimmers to learn about the Brazil campaign for next year and last I pick up Jacob from his trip to Oklahoma.

Jacob has got to be the quietest, most easy going 13 year old. I've missed his level headed look on life. Thank you Scott for filling in last night and talking great wisdom.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A complaint free world

Leah Farmer is doing a non-complaining campaign. The book is called "A Complaint Free World." :) She says, "The point is to eliminate complaining. A lot of people don't realize that most of us can express the exact same concerns with almost the exact same words without the tone and intent of complaining. So a lot of it is learning to express myself in a more positive and well-thought out way while eliminating whining, gossiping, etc. The problem I struggled with the most was complaining about things to people who had no power to change the situation. For me the goal is to change my own outlook, communication style, ability to recognize blessings, and reduce the effect of my negativity on those around me. "

Well said Leah.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Remember My Name

We are so proud when we see our children learning. They smile, roll over, sit up, crawl, walk! Maybe its the teacher in me, but I like the "other" first: writing their name, counting by 2's, learning the multiplication tables AND when they surpass me in knowledge. Justin is very good at explaining to me about things that I know nothing about. I love it.

Today while moving the desk Jacob had outgrown out of his room, I noticed he had carved his name on it! I called him over in unbelief that I had never noticed this before. With his big smile and giggle he said, " I did that when I was 6 and look I wrote the "C" for Collier because I didn't want anyone to think it was some other Jacob."

When Paul and I first married his family would tell me stories of Paul. Paul was the baby of the family and so all his siblings had stories. One of my favorites was when Paul had just learned to write his name and he went into his brother's bedroom and on his brother's desk, he wrote his name! Paul was so proud of himself that he learned to write his name.

Our daughter was proud when she learned to write her name. She was sitting, rock in hand, on the trunk of our car when she decided to practice writing her name. In big 18 inch letters she spelled her name, correctly, on the trunk. I was so upset. I took her around Alamogordo explaining graffiti and that it was against the law to write on other people's property. Just like Paul and Jacob, Chelsea was just proud that she could write her name.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Small towns are wonderful

Janis Hagler, Pam Hunter and Me
Christian Heritage Banquet and Auction 2008

The Air Force has mainly put us in very small cities to live, and it has made bonding with friends such an easy process.

In Colorado Springs we were more spread out but with planning the mothers of young children met at parks around the city. Alamogordo was completely different. When it only takes 5 minutes to get from one side of town to the other, we could call each other and say, "Meet me at ________park" and you could get a group there in less than 30 minutes.

When someone needed something, same thing, phones would ring and help was there. You didn't have to consider traffic patterns, time of the day, etc... I miss the small town.

Janis, I will miss you when you move to Wichita!!! Even though we could barely ever drive across San Antonio to see each other, you were there when Chelsea was in the hospital, when we moved to San Antonio and when it mattered. When we were in Alamogordo together you would get bored, get the kids and come over unannounced. I miss that. Small towns are wonderful.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Spider Webs, Rivers, and Drive In Windows

Just finished up Vacation Bible School and had so many fun times with the kids. Cindi and I started to reminisce about the fun activities we did with our children.

Spider Webs: Justin and his friends were about 7 years old and I gave them each a roll of yarn and they had the den to make spider webs. They stretched the string from one chair to the next and across the room. They had fun making it, climbing through it, and then a few weeks later cutting it down. I gave them each a pair of scissors and they cut away at their strings while I came around collecting all the pieces.

Rivers: This was so much fun that the kids gave it a title. They would take the water hose and let the water run to make indentions in the yard. They then would take dump trucks to move the earth, make highways, and bodies of water for boats. This was an ongoing activity summer after summer after summer.

Drive In Windows: Our house was the meeting place for Justin and his friends between the ages of 6 and 8. Chelsea had her friend Johanna and all of them would order their food from outside. I had a sliding window in my kitchen. The kids, with help from Paul, made a menu complete with drinks, popsicles, corn dogs and chicken nuggets. The kids would pretend to honk their horn, I would slide open the window and they would place their order. I then would tell them to pull around and they would go to the sliding glass door to pick up their order.

I treasure each and every stage of their precious lives.

Justin and Chelsea's Photography

Justin and Chelsea won ribbons for their photography when they were between 8 and 10 years old. Chelsea always concentrated on the animals. Justin's photography focused more broadly. I loved the way Chelsea dressed the rabbits for graduation, marriage, and any other event her and her friend Cayla felt the rabbits needed to attend. Below you will see Starburst and Honey's wedding reception. She planned on breeding them and (of course) needed to have them married first.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guilty conscience

Okay, I've already admitted I struggle to like the pets. We are now down to only a dog and snake. The hamster and rat have been missing for a month.

I woke up on a Saturday and saw the rats had gotten out of their cage and eaten through over $100 of computer cords, printer cords, telephone cords, etc...I grabbed one of them and tossed it out the front door.

I went to meet a couple of friends for breakfast and when I got home, I found out the other rat and the hamster were gone too. Those I didn't touch, but I'm feeling really guilty about them being missing.

Paul thought he saw something under the hot tub, but we haven't had any other signs....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What a great day!

Paul and Jacob tried to race each other, but Jacob got stuck at the opening gate. Paul ended up way ahead.

Chelsea and I at Schlitterbahn.

Paul bought the chicken, potato salad, jalapeno puppies, and strawberry shortcake.

106 degrees it said on the thermometer! How hot can Texas get?! We had such a good time cooling off!

Friday, June 26, 2009

How should we be remembered?

Okay, two posts in one day means that I need to walk away from the computer but I have thought more about my earlier post and didn't want to erase or add to it just start a different line of thought about the same subject.

I'm thinking of when my grandfather died, my mother-in-law, and my good friend Alice. We want to remember the best of them. My grandfather did some activities that can be called unethical. My mother-in-law hurt us badly. I spent an hour a day of every school day with Alice. I looked forward to seeing her and enjoyed bouncing ideas off of her, but after 2 weeks of all the good words about her, I started thinking...Alice wasn't perfect.

We all want to be remembered for our greater good. Yes, Michael Jackson should be remembered for his musical talent. Oh, that was hard to type.

Michael Jackson

I've heard of 4 deaths in the last week. The most talked about is Michael Jackson. At the beginning of this week I saw a post that someone had lost 2 brothers within 4 days. It left me speechless and in prayer for this family.

I learned yesterday that both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson had died. I am hearing very little about Farrah Fawcett. As far as I know she lived an upstanding life. I know Michael Jackson dubbed himself the king of pop, and yes I enjoy his music, but it hits too close to home, because of his outrageous behavior toward children.

Just last week I learned that a music teacher that 2 of my children had was indicted of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children and 43 counts of child pornography. I observed this man, admired his ability as a teacher, respected him. Before this allegation I thought of him as a mentor, and now I am conflicted. It makes me start wondering how he will be remembered when he dies.

Yes, Michael Jackson has music that I like to listen to, but will my music teacher friend be remembered for his great ability in the music field. Probably not, most likely he will slip away without mention or be remembered by his actions of child endangerment.

I remember Michael Jackson saying that he thought sharing a bed with boys was beautiful. My music teacher friend said something similar--that he thought children were beautiful and taking photos of them was a form of art.

Michael Jackson's music will live on but this outpouring of "love" makes me feel sick.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Completing the Circle

From very early I knew I wanted to work with children who had special needs. I always thought I would work at a children's home, but this didn't fit into Paul's plan. I almost had my bachelor's degree in accounting when I thought Occupational Therapy was more what I wanted to spend my life doing.

I had to have my Bachelor's degree completed to apply for the Masters in Occupational Therapy, and they didn't advise a degree in accounting to prepare me for the OT program. I immediantly went over to change my major to Special Education.

Several years later I received both a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. I never did go back to get my Masters in Occupational Therapy. I loved working with the students with special needs.

Then the move to San Antonio. I think working at CHS (a private school) with students who are set to learn has been a wonderful gift. Last summer I decided to get my Masters in Advanced Literacy. I saw myself in the next many years using my knowledge in reading and writing to help CHS.

Now my life is getting confused once again. I may be able to stay at CHS, but the way the enrollment is decreasing, I wonder if I need to use my Reading Specialty elsewhere.

This is one of the many reasons I ask, "Where is God leading me?" and "Am I being led back to those with difficulties learning?"

I just read on my sister's facebook, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Now that lightens the mood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meaning of Life

I am feeling very serious today. By this time of the morning I've usually gotten much more accomplished, but I just can't seem to get started. I started the day with a walk. It didn't lighten my mood. I am filled with life right now...I mean I have kids keeping me very busy, college, genealogy, and teaching. Usually all of this brings fulfillment, but today just seriousness. I'm thinking where is all this going. What next?

It reminds me of youth rallies growing up. You'd go out of town with a bunch of people, have lots of fun and then come home only to realize everything was the same and you were no longer on a "high." These past few weeks I've connected with friends from high school (Karen Vasquez), connected with family members (Laura, Jacobye, Tim), and just this week-end spent time with old friends in the mountains (my Riverside congregation). Now I am back, and not just the same old routine but wondering what the new routine will be. Where do I want to go, what do I want to do? Can I go where I want to go? And if I don't know where I am going then how do I lead others?

When I study the bible, I know that the people didn't know where God was leading them, but I so want to know where I am being led. Does God give us more than we can handle or do we just not realize we can handle it?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How I've learned to tolerate my children's pets

I didn’t begin life with a love of animals. We had a dog for a short time period growing up, but I never felt a longing to have a pet. Somehow 2 of my 3 children were born with a different attitude toward animals, and I have come to tolerate their pets.

I could tell from the time Chelsea was a baby that she loved animals. When I would read to her at 6 months old, she would kick her little legs excitedly when she would see animals in a book. Everyone in our family characterize Chelsea from her handling of the animals. She’s caught tadpoles, frogs, turtles, lizards, stray cats, and even a tarantula she found on the street. While volunteering at a pet store, Chelsea was given a rat by the owner, because Chelsea had handled it so much it had become tame. The owner didn’t feel right selling it as snake food since it had been treated as a pet. Chelsea is not only a horse whisperer, but can truly talk to cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, snakes, any animal without exclusion.

My son Jacob is the biggest animal activist I know. He’s 13 and has been a vegetarian for 3 years. He would never hurt an animal much less eat one. I have had trouble convincing him the animals are okay in their cages. He likes to let the bird fly around the house, he thinks the rats should roam the laundry room, and while we taught the rabbits to use the litter box they have left unwelcome presents in the house when they have been allowed to jump around freely.
At many different times in my chidren’s lives we have had over 8 animals. You have not lived until you wake up in the middle of the night hearing noises and find out your son’s snake is chasing the hamster. One time I was going up stairs about 6 a.m. to wake up my husband to go on a walk and the snake was coming down the stairs. I screamed for my husband, Paul, and then I screamed for my son, Jacob. No one was waking up. I took my cell phone, to call my home phone, to get someone awake to get the snake! I have many stories about the snake, the hamsters, the pet rats, the rabbits, but how did I come to love them…

When I started taking the animals to my classroom I would either have my daughter, Chelsea come hold the animal or my son, Jacob. Just this past year, I didn’t have Jacob or Chelsea at my school. The first time I took the snake to my classroom, I brought in a 3rd grader to hold the snake, but later while discussing the pattern on the snake I had to get it out to show the students. I tried to separate myself from the situation, pick it up, and not act afraid. I succeeded. I wasn’t happy, but I got the job done. Later when I took my daughter’s pet rats to school, I again did not want to handle them, but took them out, and even kind of liked their little hands as they grasp my finger.

In a unit on life cycles, I ordered a frog from the science center. The frog jumped from my hands, and the girls stood on their desks screaming. I think this is when I started yelling, “It’s a frog, and it can’t hurt you!” I knew this is what my daughter has told me about her tarantula, and many other of her pets that have scared me. I knew if I was going to keep having pets in my home and in my classroom, I was going to have to face the reality of when it is okay to handle the animals and not let it scare me.

Chelsea enjoys volunteering because of taking her rabbits around for Easter pictures or to preschool classes. Jacob’s love of animals has been fostured by letting him have animals in our house. I have never been, and I don’t think I ever will be an animal lover. I have learned to tolerate the animals for the greater good of my youngest two children. I have to tolerate the animals for the experiences my students can have with them. I also acknowledge a feeling of accomplishment that I can handle the pets successfully. This is a milestone. After 10 years of pets, I can finally live with them in peace.