Saturday, December 31, 2011

Misery or Joy?

I've read a number of blogs and had countless conversations with people of all ages and stations and I've come to the conclusion that some people live out of joy and some people are defined by their misery. (Yes, that's blunt.  But in case you didn't not realize that about me, I'm blunt. I don't sugar coat and I am fully aware that I'm not sweet.) 

Maybe I'm trivializing the this or that somewhat, but over the years, I truly think that most people can be listed in either the joy camp or the misery camp.  I don't know about you, but I want to be in the joy camp.

I'm not trying to push away pain. I'm not trying to devalue trials and tears.  I'm just asking you and myself, do you define yourself by the pain you have felt or the joy you have experienced?

At this point some of you might think that I must not have any experience with the misery of life.  Well, I've had more than some and far less than others.  I'm not naive, I've seen some really yucky things, and I've experienced heartbreak. But more than that, I place my hope in things greater than me and know that because of some of my life experiences, I can find common ground with most people.

This year, as we embrace 2012, I am going to be cognizant of living from JOY. When I get downtrodden, overworked, overtired and beat up, I'm going to remind myself that in this life, some things are crappy, but in the end, if we let it, we learn and grow and can experience JOY.

And if you see me around town and catch me living on the misery side, stop me and remind to live joyously.

Here are a few of things you can remind me of:

1. I have three beautiful daughters who are the delight of my life.
2. I have a handsome husband who was not afraid to take control of our future and start his own business.
3. I have a large extended family that supports me.
4. I have a good job that challenges me every single day.
5. I have friends that I can count on and laugh with.

Really, when put it this way, what would I have to be miserable about anyway?

If you have the time, inclination or desire, check out A Place Called Simplicity this writer takes this concept to a whole new level.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Joy Of A Texas Winter

There is something wonderful about 70 degree days the week between Christmas and New Years. In Texas, sometimes you get these incredible days and sometimes you get rain.  Rarely do we get snow.  I have to say, I LOVE this weather!

While I was cleaning out the garage and doing the Christmas takedown, my girls had a chance to play outside.  Lexi got a new scooter. Obviously.

So for all of you out there that are in the midst of winter and snow, here is a burst of sunshine for you!  Doesn't she just make your heart melt!  (And don't you just love my new camera!!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walmart... Really? No return, not even with a reciept???

Maybe I've been living in a bubble and am the ONLY person to not know it... but did you know that Walmart does not allow holiday items to be returned after said holiday even if you have a receipt??

Well, I didn't! And it's not written in their store policy, it's not posted anywhere in the store and it isn't on my receipt! So, how was I supposed to know?  You don't! And I call FOUL! and UNFAIR!!

You see, this all started out so simple, I purchase new pajamas for the girls every year to open Christmas Eve.  Maddie as a tween isn't really an adult small, nor is she a kid size either.  However, in my quest for jammies, I settled on an adult small purchased from Walmart knowing that if I found something more her size elsewhere I could always return it.

Happily, I found a tween size that were cute at another store and all was well.  I had my bag of things to return to Walmart and almost did so on Christmas Eve, but with the store overflowing with people, decided that since there was no rush, to just wait a take everything back a couple of days after Christmas.

Well, today, 12/29 was that day!
I got my items marked, waited my turn at customer service and had a very nice and friendly worker explain to me that she could not take the pajamas back.  That it was STORE POLICY to not take anything back after the holiday.  I was shocked!  I asked where this policy was posted.  She confirmed that it wasn't.  I asked why it wasn't on the receipt.  She said that was a good idea, that I should let corporate know that they should do that before next Christmas.  You see, it would make her life much easier she said.  

To be honest, I really wanted to throw a good fit.  Thankfully I didn't.  And thankfully $17.97 isn't the end of the world.  But it's the principle!  I understand not wanting to take holiday items back after the holiday, but at least be HONEST about it.  Make a sign and put it on your receipts... like the honest store owners do.

So here is what I have decided to do, (and I realize that the monstrosity called the Walmart Corporation doesn't care) but I'm not going to buy anything from Walmart that I don't have to.  Boycotting Walmart doesn't work.  Not in a small community like ours where it feels like our dollars are held hostage!  But for me, I am going to do my best to plan a little better, buy a little earlier and purchase from retailers that care about their customers. 

What about you out there?  Did you know about this policy?  And if so, how did you find out?

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Angel, A Narrator, a Toddler and an attempt at a Family Picture!

We are so blessed at our church to have fabulous music.  The children's programs are outstanding and the kids are learning so much about their faith and music as well!

Yesterday was the Christmas Cantata.  Maddie was a narrator and Lexi was an angel.  Kylie just looked cute.

Here Lexi is pictured with Pastor Howard.

And finally, an attempt at a family picture....ugh. What's bad is that one of my students who takes awesome pictures took these.  Oh well. I was hoping for some magic, like maybe losing 20 pounds in the picture too...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stop the Press!

Stop the Presses! 

I made it to TWO events at Lexi's school in ONE day!

As a working mom, I NEVER get to go to anything at my children's school.  Sad really given that I'm a teacher, but I'm one of those parents that the teacher never sees.  My girls are so good about it, but they do notice that I'm not there.  Lexi goes through spurts of asking me to come for lunch or to pick her up, but most of the time I think we are all just pretty resigned to the fact that while I get holidays off to spend with my kids, I won't ever get to see them in things at school.  Well, I guess until they get to high school and are at my school.  And then they will be too old for class Christmas parties!

Okay, enough of the whine and back to the fun.

Today Lexi had a T.O.T.S. performance in gym class. I can't remember what it stands for.  Basically, it's ball handling skills.  She did great.  After the performance, they had parents come out and the kids taught the parents. Good for Doug!! I was happy to be the photographer :)
Then came the class Christmas party! I must say, I so enjoy a well organized classroom and party!  The kids rotated from the letter to Santa station, to the gingerbread house station, to the ornament station, to the snack station and finally to the Christmas tree decorating station.  I know that some classrooms function in chaos, but I just love organized teachers!! Yay Mrs. Priddy!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A little wire, some beads and wah lah... Friend Gifts!

It wasn't that long ago that when Maddie, aged 11 asked to make gifts for her friends for Christmas that I cringed and said "Sure" in that sing-song voice that says "I may be saying yes now, but we are going to chat about that later and come up with a different plan..."

However, it is with great pride, that I can say that Maddie is now not only an official crafter, but she is getting good at it too!!  Last year she made baked goods that were delicious for friend and teacher gifts.  This year, she decided to make necklaces.

Below are a couple of her creations!

And here is a close up.  Can you see that one string is gold and one is silver? 
It looks really good in person!

Now granted, I would have never chosen the color scheme, but the necklaces aren't for me.

I think her friends are going to be super excited!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Happy Heart for Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the McLemore's

and the Maxwell's

and the Greene's.....

I love getting together with my family.  This isn't all of us, but we had a great time. The weather was beautiful, the food bountiful and laughter plenty.

Maybe this year means more as my grandparents (in the middle, Grandad in the grey suit and Grandmother in the white shirt with the cane) are in their upper 90's. Just last week Grandad was in the hospital.  I know that these special moments are fleeting.

My dad's dad, my Papa, died 23 years ago on Thanksgiving day.  I remember the day with such clarity you would think it was just last year.  Maybe that's why Thanksgiving is such an important day to me. 

I hope you had the opportunity to be with those you love on this special day of the year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Can Never Go Home Again... Or Can You?

 We bought a house and we are moving!!

Well, we bought the house about six years ago or so, but yes, we are moving back to our old house.

It's interesting how life works. 

We thought the house had sold, we moved out the first week of June and the buyer moved in and was to rent our house from us until his house sold.

Well, with the market and all that... his house didn't sell.  So out he goes and we go back.

It could have been a disappointment.  But it's not.

We found that we love our house.  We missed our house.  The girls asked every day to go home.

So now we are going home. 

But I painted a number of rooms and we got new carpet, so it feels like a new house.

Yeah for us. 

No buyers remorse for us :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scrapbooking Made Easy, it's all in the Method!

As you all know by now, I'm a busy woman.

So I have had to figure out how to streamline some things along the way.

One of those is basic scrapbook pages.
By streamlining the method of creation, I have more time for my favorite part...


So while you may be tired of my preaching easy scrapbook pages, I just can't stop myself :)

To start, choose 10 patterns and 12 pieces of cardstock that go together. 
Plus you will need base pages of white or cream depending on your color scheme.
 Here are my chosen pages.
Notice that my pieces of cardstock are really papers with a dominant color and a small pattern!!

The next step is to choose a set of page layouts that you like.  
Most of mine templates are taken from Close To My Heart's template books.
In fact, all of the layouts for this set come from Imagine.

To be honest, one of my very strange quirks is that I LOVE to take the layouts and place them on paper
and see how many layouts I can make with a little paper as possible. 

So while some of you might groan, I live for graphing paper!!

Once I have my cutting guides ready, I cut the paper.  The biggest part of the learning curve is to
 NOT STRESS over which page is which!
It's all part of the game.

As you cut your paper, label each piece in pencil and then when finished sort into piles.
Below you can see my pieces sorted with white between each grouping.
The first time you do this, it will take some work. 
You won't like some of the pages. 
In the midst of trying to figure out what to do you, you will be taking my name in vain!

But when you figure it out, well...

Then it is FUN!!

All of the above layouts were pieced and placed in the span of about three hours.

That's 18 12x12 pages.

That's enough to fill a gift book.

Plus, I had a good bit of scrap paper to use for journal blocks, embellishments and so forth.

So, if you haven't tried this type of scrapbooking, try it!

In fact, I'll teach you how.

Stay tuned for more details....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some do it in a year, for me, I'm taking 10!

The sum total of my life.

I downloaded a plan to read the bible in a year.

That was more than a year ago.  I'm on week 6.

Acknowledging that my life is not going ot get any simpler or easier...

I'm going to give myself 10 years.

Whoever developed the One Year Bible approach was not a full-time working outside the home mother of three.

If you are a full-time working outside the home mom and want my 10 year plan, let me know.  Maybe we can motivate each other.

Just don't expect me to call you every week or anything like that.

Well, I'm off to read Exodus 19.  

Can't wait to show you my certificate of completion in 2021!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life, 24/200, and Pinterest

I just realized how long it has been since I was last on here. One of these days I am going to feel like I have my feet under me and can do fun things again.  I'm not there yet.

So what's been going on in our world?

Well, to begin, Doug left his old investment company and started his own financial company!! Exciting times.  A little scary, but every risk comes with reward and it was time for him to be the guy that made the decisions about his future!!

Moving a financial services business is a lot of behind the scenes work and a quick move in the end, so we have been very focused on starting McLemore Financial Group.

If you need any financial advise, call Doug at 254-968-1020!!

What else is going on?  Just school and life.  Maddie was sick most of last week.  A little "innocent" 24 hour sore throat for most people becomes a week-long yucky time for Mad. After she had been sick for four days I took her to the doctor, but the doctor was booked solid, so they did a nurse visit to check her urine and do a strep test.  The strep test was negative and thankfully her urine looked good.  Then the nurse asked the regular questions and did the nice nurse talk. Thanks.  I really wanted to ask her if she had looked at Maddie's chart.  But I didn't, I just pointed out that the 24 hour virus she was talking about had passed long before. It gets old and tiring.  My sister is a WONDERFUL nurse, so I really try to be more patient with medical people because I truly know that they have the patients well-being in the forefront of their mind, however, there are times when I really just want to say... LOOK AT HER CHART!!!

Okay, sorry about the want. Maddie is well now :)

Next on the agenda, progress reports went out Thursday.  Lexi beat Maddie's grades!  Maddie did point out that 6th grade is much harder than 1st grade and Lexi pointed out that Maddie had missed almost a full week of school.  Nonetheless, Lexi was rather proud of her three 100's, a 99 and a 98.  Maddie didn't do to shabby either with two 100's and a lowest greade of a 96.  As a teacher, I couldn't help myself and told them to remember that this was just a progress report and that the official grade would come later and that I expected similar grades to show up there....

I am so thankful to have children that do so well in school. It is a huge blessing!

And how am I doing?  Well, thanks for asking.  I am doing okay.  I am still in the learning the new routine phase of the year.  My students are really good and my program is really off to a great start this year, but me, well, I'm struggling.

However, it is getting better and as I sat in a meeting on Thursday, I realized why.

Have you heard of the 24/200 concept?  Well, studies show that it takes doing something 24 times to do it proficiently.  But it takes doing something 200 times to make it routine.  So here I am with a new schedule and a new curriculum and feeling overwhelmed every day.  Of course I am! We are only on day.. well I don't know, but it's not day 24 yet.  So thinking about this has made me stop beating myself up for being exhausted and overwhelmed and given me hope.  It is getting better, and it will continue to be so.

I like this concept so much, that I think I'm going to make a 24/200 banner and put it up in my classroom.  Students are constantly asking why they have to draw something they have already drawn, explaining gets old.. but a banner, I could point to and say remember.... :)

 And lastly, in all the crazies of the days, I started using pinterest.  I wasn't going to as I knew it would be addicting.  I've looked at it a number of times and such, but this week a friend of mine was showing me what she was doing and I just couldn't resist any longer. 

For those of you that don't know what Pinterest is, well, it's a virtual pinboard.  It's like sticky notes to use in a catalog.  It makes looking at cool pictures way easier, becuase when you find something you love or want to use, you don't have to do the right click save to folder thing and then never find it again.  With pinterest, you pin it or like it and it puts it on your board and has the direct link for you! So when you want to go to the source, you double click you picture and it takes you to the website the picture was first posted at!

Isn't that SO COOL!!!!!  

Well, Kylie just came in throwing a 2 year old tantrum and Doug saying "YOU ARE DONE" (to Kylie, not me) so I better go!

Next installment: an update on our housing drama.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bathtime Cutie

Sometimes you just have to share the cute things in life!

Kylie is one of the cutest!!
Isn't nice to just smile!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Feeling like a First Year Teacher :(

My first year teaching was the fall of 1997.

I've taught more subjects than are offered at some schools!

I'm really pretty flexible and very organized...

But this year, I'm feeling overwhelmed and underwater.

Just like a first year teacher again.

For the record. I hate that feeling.

Why you ask?

Well, since I'm in the middle of my whine fest, let me tell you.

I teach
  • Art 1
  • Pre AP Art 2
  • AP Drawing
  • AP 2D
  • AP 3D
  • AP Studio
  • Graphic Design
  • and just for grins, I like to throw in an independent study AP Art History student.
So that's a lot of things in one day.  However, I teach 3 Art 1 classes.  Those classes are first period, fourth period and eighth period. Yeah, we wouldn't want to put them back to back, cause that would be easy. Then my AP Drawing, 2D and 3D kids are all in the same class, but since it's a college board approved course, each section has their own syllabus and stuff. And I could go on and on...

But I won't.

Overall, I love my job. I get to teach something I love and I recognize that I am good at it.  However, for anyone out there that says "it's just art..." I invite, no I encourage you to walk a day in my shoes. 

So thanks for letting me whine.  I am hoping to find a new normal soon.  I'd really like to make something creative.  I think it would help my bad juju.  But in the meantime, I've got 150 students to prep for this morning.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday Night Lights.. Small Town Texas taking down #1.

Last night was the season opener for our local high school football team.

We played a BIG rival! There is a good deal of bad blood between our schools and while a game that doesn't count for the district standings is HUGE to us. You see, prior to the game, the rival school was ranked #1 in Texas in our division and we were #9.

Here are the girls as we were leaving the house for the game.

At game time, it was over 100 degrees!  The stands were PACKED and it was electric.
There is just something about Friday Night Lights!! 

The girls were hot and tired so we only lasted the first half.  I wish we could have made the whole game!

We kept up with the score, but it's just not the same thing. :(

The final score of the game? 

We WON!!

How sweet it is. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ideas At Work: My 2011 Classroom Decor

And so the 2011-1012 year begins!

This year my room is

Under Construction: Ideas At Work!!

It got rave reviews today.

Notice the DANGER and CAUTION signs around my desk!
The student's thought that was funny, and true. 

So there it is!

My hope is that it will inspire students to be creative and allow


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teaching is a Family Affair

Getting ready for a new school year is what I consider to be one of the funnest things about teaching.
I love decideing on a new classroom theme.
I love making new charts and class procedures handouts.
I love bulletin boards and posters.

I know, it's kinda weird for a secondary teacher to say that, but I do. 
I guess that's why teaching art works for me :)

But along with all the new, there is a lot of work.
And lots of hours go into making a classroom a nice place to be.

Below you can see my girls hard at work helping me get a first day of school activity ready!
By now, Maddie is a pro. 
Lexi is learning and staying on task with moderate redirection.
Kylie is participating.

 Here are all the bags stuffed with their "goodies".

 And for any Art 2 student out there... here is a sneak peek to your first project for the year!