Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Anniversary Celebration Days 2 & 3

After a stormy night in Gulf Port, we woke up to a beautifully sunny morning for us to continue our drive to Mobile. We first back-tracked a bit to check out the recovery in Pass Christian from Hurricane Katrina. It's amazing how very little seemed to have been remodeled and instead completely rebuilt. There were hardly any businesses more than 4 1/2 years old. However, the beach and landscapes were as pretty as ever, so now the tourists just need to return!

Right off of 10 in Mobile we saw this:

The Elation would be our home for the next few days, and it was a wonderful home to have! Our Brazilian cruise director Felipe (NOT Flipper!) made sure we laughed til our sides hurt on about an hourly basis. He was wonderful!

We spent the rest of Day 2 exploring the ship as we gained our bearings, unpacking, and enjoying a great first night's show.

Exploring one of the decks

Day 3 of our Anniversary Celebration was spent at sea. I read an entire book that day while soaking up some sun. Isaac swam with me and continued exploring the ship. We also went to our first ever art auction. It was very entertaining and while we saw some Thomas Kinkade works we would've loved to have, we didn't come on the cruise to spend more money (we're weird, I know, but we live on a budget at all times), so we just enjoyed the moment.

That evening was formal night, so we got all cleaned up to meet the captain and go to dinner. I'd love to know what makes so many Italians decide to be captains of cruise ships, as most that I hear of are from Italy.

We feasted on lobster and shrimp at dinner and then went to the evening show before crashing into bed. There was a fun day at the beach awaiting us, and we wanted to be well rested for new adventures.

Horse and Baseball Glove Birthday Cakes!

**If you've found this post helpful, please click the blue 'join this site' button on the right hand side of the screen.  Then check back for more awesome cake ideas from my super talented husband!  Thank you for visiting!**
Here is the awesome baseball cake Isaac made for Zach's birthday party the first week of August. The kids said the grass looked real, and it did!

Last night Isaac made this beauty for Sarah's birthday party. She's so cute I don't know how Sarah will handle cutting into her, but I'm sure the chocolate cake will call her name enough she'll make it. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Quit!

Ok, not really. I don't usually quit anything; I'm too bloody stubborn for that. However, our teacher inservice training today made me want to throw up my arms and scream, "I QUIT!" and break out into my own rendition of "Take This Job and Shove It".

"Why?" you ask. Well, see, remember those weeks I was in Zambia? Remember all the schools I was blessed to observe and help? See, Africa gets under your skin and becomes a part of you. When I saw kids desperate just to learn to read their names and write their letters and numbers, it reminded me why I became a teacher in the first place: to help kids LEARN and be excited and passionate about discovery. In Zambia, school is a privilege. Here it's an obligatory nightmare of state standards and exams and lots of teachers who are flat out boring. In Zambia, a lot of teachers teach to have a job, just like here, but most of them still want to see their students be successful because they know education is the only way for their nation to continue to move forward. Honestly, if I hadn't been to Africa, I know this post would instead be talking about how great today's training was. I used to think all this stuff was fabulous and helping me be a better teacher, but Zambia taught me none of it matters without my own personal passion to see kids be successful, no matter the obstacles. So, keep that in mind.

Instead of filling our time with idea sharing amongst teachers (people actually IN the classroom on a daily basis) many school districts think philosophies, pedagogies, and numerous other big worded trainings are going to make our students brighter. This irritates the tar out of me because, regardless of our world ranking in education, I've seen what the vast majority of the world's students get on a daily basis, and we're eons ahead of them. And for those privileged with the money to go to school in that vast majority of the world, the successful ones who become the doctors, lawyers, business men and women, and teachers that continue to propel (albeit sometimes slowly) their nations towards a brighter future didn't become successful because of the most new-fangled study on educational techniques but because of the passion, drive, and encouragement of a teacher(s) who cared. THAT'S REALITY!

Hmm...So, I saw the same interest for discovery in my sweet Zambian kiddos as I do in my own kiddos. Whatever happened to simply supplying them with the tools to do what kids do best-discover?? Once the basic reading and writing and 'rithmetic concepts are down, get them curious and run with it. It works in huts with no electricity, it works in my 21st century state-of-the-art classroom, and it worked in Laura Ingalls Wilder's day, not to mention Ancient China.

So why the fuss? Why did I have to sit through three hours of hearing about 'fertilizing' good behavior in students, stopping teachers from 'leaking' out lectures, finger shaking, and 'the look' when bad behavior occurs, and 'resetting' students onto good behavior instead? COMPLETE WASTE!

No offense to anyone, honest, but let's get back to the basics! Let's appreciate what we have in this country and make use of it instead of trying to reinvent the wheel 500 different ways simply because we're in a new millennium with new technology. We all know those things are coming with us, and we're using them! But let me get on with being a teacher, my dream job, the thing I'm most passionate about (aside from Christ), and why my heart aches daily for Zambia.

So teachers, don't quit, even when you're tempted. Dig down deep and remember why you spent those four years studying and lesson planning in college. Fertilize your passion, leak out the fluff, reset your motivation, and TEACH! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Anniversary Celebration Day 1

Isaac and I found an insanely cheap price on a 5 day cruise out of Mobile, Alabama, so we enjoyed a fabulous trip to Mexico to celebrate our anniversary. On the 8th, my bell choir was playing in church, and it's hard for Isaac to miss orchestra with so few violinist, so as soon as church ended, we drove to Gulf Port, Mississippi for the evening. A nasty storm blew up right as we were arriving, so the beach walk was nixed, but we found a lovely restaurant called Half Shell Oyster Bar for dinner. Then we drove up and down Beach Blvd all the way to Biloxi, watching the storm and the Gulf. It was a stunning sight.

Upon our return to the hotel, we pulled out the top layer of wedding cake. Yes, we brought it with us to Mississippi to eat on our anniversary. Cake Affairs makes one heck of a cake since it lasted a year in our freezer and then made it in the car for 6 hours. Plus, we took the left overs on the cruise and munched all the way to Mexico!

Our first anniversary was a special day, and I much enjoyed the time we had together to visit in the truck...oh, and speaking of Ol' Sarge, this was his first road trip out of Texas. WHOOP!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today I married one heck of a man! Isaac and I have had a fantastic first year of marriage. We've grown so much this year, and we can't wait to be like my grandparents, who are celebrating their 56th wedding anniversary today. The anniversary cards that have been mailed to us are decorating our fridge, and we appreciate all of the prayers and love that have been showered over us this past year from so very many dear people. Isaac and I are so blessed. Thank You, Jesus!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cake Addiction

I love cake. Lately, I've been craving it, probably because our one year anniversary is in less than a week, and I've waited for nearly 52 weeks to eat the top of our wedding cake. Our wedding cake and groom's cake was absolutely delightful, and I can still taste it if I think about it long enough. Sunday can't come soon enough.

Lucky for me, I'm married to one heck of a baker/cake decorator. Our sweet little Zachy turned 9 yesterday, and Mr. Isaac is surprising him with a baseball themed cake for his party tomorrow. At this moment, Isaac is decorating the glove and ball. I've been munching on the cake crumbs and icing that's left in the corners of the dishes Isaac is using. Yum!!!

My computer has completely crashed, but as soon as I have a way to upload pictures onto a computer again, I'll post photos of Isaac's newest creation. He is for hirer, but the way. :)
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