Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And today you are three

Cooper is in the bathtub right now, after a day full of cupcakes and ice cream and presents and song. He is three. Three! Though he kept telling everyone he is five. Three years old. I wish I could take a snapshot of him right now to just keep him forever perfect and happy and young. But since that is impossible, I will try to capture him with words so that he might see the Cooper that I see now, when he is 15 and surly and thinks I am the meanest mom ever.

Dear Cooper,

If you wake up yourself in the morning, you come upstairs, trailing your blanket behind you. If I have to wake you up, you groan and cover your eyes with your hands, or pull your blanket over your head. I don't think that will change much in 12 years.

Your favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, peas, papaya, every kind of rice, and anything you can dip in something else. You eat feta, and wasabi, and duck, and spinach,(and I just stopped for a while to go clean up the the blood from you chasing Shiatsu - the cat - through the house, taking a corner in the kitchen too fast and landing on your face and splitting open your lip. You're welcome.) and have a particular fondness for eating your food by spearing pieces of whatever it is with toothpicks. You have an adventurous palate, and have eaten Thai and Japanese and El Salvadorean food with gusto. You hate mashed potatoes.

You help open the car door, and then pat my seat and say, "Have a seat."

You say "please" and "no, thank you" at the table.

Your favorite books are Gossie and Gertie, and just about anything written by Sandra Boynton. You "read" Doggies, and Moo Baa LaLaLa and But Not the Hippopotamus to me on a regular basis.

You love to sing and dance. You hate for me to dance with you. You can sing "I am a Child of God," and "Twinkle Twinkle" and "How Firm a Foundation." You love to repeat the Standard of Truth with your dad. You take a flashlight to bed with you, and point it at the ceiling while we read Goodnight, Moon.

You hate the vacuum, but you built one out of blocks and play with it.

It bothers you when I don't have my glasses on, and you go find them and give them to me.

You are fascinated by trains and cars and basically anything with wheels. You love building things. Any sort of blocks fascinate you. You build structures and call them your castles. You told everyone you were five today. You are king of the slide at pre-school. You mime putting on a seatbelt when you get on your tricycle.

You love church. Monday morning you start counting down the days until you get to go to church again.

You throw yourself at me when I'm sitting on the couch, and lay on my chest, and whisper, "Nice and comfy." I am required to give you kisses before I leave for work in the morning. If I kiss daddy after I kiss you, you insist on "last kisses." You yell, "Momma is awesome!" and throw both of your hands over your head in a cheer.

I am recording this so you know that no matter how you feel at fifteen, you loved me once. But I love you now, and still, and always. You are my joy, child of mine, and later tonight, I will go into your room after you have fallen asleep, and tuck your blankets back in, and turn off the music, and kiss your forehead and whisper, "I love you." I will whisper a little prayer over you, the same way I have for every night for three years, that you will know happiness, like the happiness I feel from being your mother; that you will know peace, like the peace I feel when I hold you in my arms at the end of the day; that you will know love, like the love that I have for you.

I love you, Cooper.

Now and always.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Three preps

I teach a 4-4-4 load with three preps a semester. Next semester I have assigned new texts in two of my preps. I am adding substantial new readings to the other prep. Two of the classes will have completely new assignments. The third class, in which two of the three texts are new, also has new minor assignments.

My life would be so much easier if I didn't have a commitment to pedagogical excellence.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Next steps in greening my life

We've been recycling pretty well for the last few months. Now, my next step is to reduce the amount of stuff I bring in to this house that needs to be recycled. This is going to be difficult for one major reason.

Most of the stuff we end up recycling is food packaging. I buy prepared foods to make dinner faster in the evening. I know it will be cheaper, and healthier if I cooked more, and I love cooking in general, but there are nights where it is just nice to know that all I have to do is open a bag of tortellini and throw it in the water, and heat up a frozen vegetable to go with, you know?

So, my next goal: cook meals, from scratch, at least three times a week.

And maybe start a compost pile for the food scraps.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Adventuring

Things that made me happy today:

Cooper helping sort out the recycling to go drop off at the bins today.
Cooper insisting that we go the library after we dropped off the recycling.
Cooper getting his own library card so he can check out his own books.
A pair of robins, the first of the year, courting in a tree in our front yard. I wonder if I would be lucky enough to have them nest there.
Homemade mac and cheese with bacon in it. Yummmmy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happiness, day 2

I have a cocoa mug that I bought in college. It's handthrown pottery, and it fits perfectly in my hand, and it warms up from the hot chocolate. After a day like today, when spring still feels so far away, it's nice to sit with a warm mug of hot chocolate, and let all my stress melt away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Woman's search for happiness, day 1

If you don't live under a rock, you've probably heard of The Happiness Project by now. While I'm less than enamored with some of the ideology behind it, I'm going to see if I can make this my own year of happiness. Day 1: throw out that lipgloss I hate but feel compelled to use to not be wasteful.

I feel happier already.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Research based teaching practices

I teach at a university that has a heavy teaching load. This semester I'm teaching four courses with three preps. One of the things that I am constantly trying to do is improve my teaching. I am always willing to innovate in my classroom. Some things have worked, some things haven't. I try and be up front with my students about why I am doing what I am doing, and let them know that I am trying to implement the results of research that I have read in the scholarship of teaching and learning. I think it is good for students to see professors grapple with research and new ways of learning. It encourages them to see the importance of having research and things that you learn actually affect the way you think and behave, and not just be filed away in that part of your brain that only gets checked during games and when watching Jeopardy.

I'm contemplating using a reading journal in one of my theory courses next semester. When I tried it last time, it flopped greatly. I couldn't see how to make it not appear to be busywork. So, I'm turning to the blogosphere. What journaling practices have you seen work in your academic career, either as faculty or student? And what journaling practices haven't worked?
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