Sunday, February 19, 2012

Post- TMEA Thoughts

TMEA was AWESOME and I am very glad I was able to attend and gather all of this knowledge about teaching elementary music. I have taught elementary music for 7 years but I also taught band during those 7 years and anytime I attended a professional development conference or clinic, I would gear my time towards the band clinics instead of elementary clinics. This year, since I am ONLY teaching elementary, I only attended elementary clinics. Wow... I have not been teaching the correct way. I have been doing great things but man, I could do SO MUCH MORE!

I attended an awesome seminar on using Mallets (Xylophone, Glockenspiel, etc) in the classroom with Artie Alameda. She is amazing and I learned alot on not only how to use them more often but some great tricks while using them. I have used them in the past but thanks to this session, beginning next year, I will be able to use them on a more frequent basis.

I also attended sessions on teaching recorder and building a recorder program in your school. I actually have never taught recorder so this was a HUGE help to me and this upcoming rest of the school year. My kids just ordered recorders and they should be here in a few weeks and we will begin working on them at that point. Until then, I am going to use and study the information attained in these 3 sessions and try to get a game plan for what we will be doing for the rest of the year on recorders.

I also spent a good amount of time at the 2 exhibit halls. The last time I attended TMEA, there was only 1 Exhibit hall and it was massive! This year, I noticed they had 2 Exhibit halls. The main one, which seemed larger than EVER, and then another one across the convention center which was about the same size as the Exhibit hall at OMEA in Tulsa. I was nice to be able to roam around and see all the wonderful sights and items that are available for music lovers. In fact I found some very interesting things. First, I found a toilet seat that was shaped like a guitar. This also had matching toilet paper to go with it. This company also had a toilet seat that looked like a piano. These were really neat so I inquired about the cost of each. They ended up being $200. One of these days when I not only win the lottery but also have a 6 bathroom house, I will purchase one of these for my "MUSIC BATHROOM"!!

I also saw a company selling brass and woodwind instruments that were painted and colored very odd colors. I even saw a trumpet that had the US flag painted on it! The best of this booth was the hot pink saxophone. Now these might have looked cool but trust me... the sounded TERRIBLE! But I did take a picture of the hot pink sax for my sister, Allison. I know if she ever picked up playing the saxophone, I would have to get her this one!

Throughout the 2 exhibit halls there were not only music vendors but also just crafty vendors like at a craft show event. I found one who was basically just a T-shirt vendor but she had made shirts for music teachers. This was awesome and I got a few of these shirts to were around school and other places. One of them said "Music Rocks" and another said "Music Teacher". I will wear these with pride!

The last booth I saw in the small exhibit hall was a lady from California selling T-shirts and crafty items as well with a music motto. At the back of her booth was a rack of hot pink shirts that focused on Grandma sayings and shirts. I found a blue onesie that said "Gigi's Boy". Of course, I HAD to get this for Luke. It is so hard to find stuff with "Gigi" on it! It seemed odd to find something like this at TMEA but hey, I will take what I can get. I also purchased a "koozie" for your coke cans from this same vendor which read "This Sax Player ROCKS". I thought this was pretty neat!

I was also able to see friends from College and even High School while there. I was able to reconnect with some long-time friends from college who are also music teachers/ band directors. I also was able to hear 2 friends of mine from the OU saxophone studio back in the day perform with their Saxophone Quartet on the last day I was there. They were AMAZING  and I would love to be able to hear them again!

Overall, TMEA was AMAZING! Exactly what I expected and more. I am so lucky and privileged to be able to go and I am taking SO MUCH back with me! I cannot wait til' next year!

God is Good...ALL THE TIME !

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Family of Three Again, but not for long... SOON there will be FOUR!

Last weekend I took Natalie to Arp to my mom and dad's house to spend the week with them while I went to TMEA and Chris had several baseball games. Natalie had spent a week with my parents before while Jackie was having surgery and she has been on an extended vacation with them but for whatever reason, this time it felt like much more than a week.

We met my mom and dad at Buffalo today for lunch and Chris and I made sure we were the first ones there. In fact we left so early, we got there about 40 minutes early and went and got some Fried Pies from "The Original Fried Pie Shoppe". We made it to Dickey's BBQ and went to the restroom. We then stood right by the door of Dickey's waiting for Gigi, Poppy and Natalie Grace to arrive. As soon as they did, I began to tear up and cry looking at how much my little girl had grown and changed!

As Gigi and Natalie entered the Dickey's door, Natalie looked at me and Chris and then smiled as big as I have EVER seen her smile and jumped in my arms. She hugged me so VERY VERY tight and without asking her she said "I love you, mommy!" Wow... the tears just kept rolling off my face! Then she asked for daddy and went to him and did the SAME thing! Its the small things in life, really!

All the way home from Buffalo, Natalie was singing and saying "I love you Mommy! I love you Daddy!" When she got home she ran and gave Abbey and Oxford a hug and kiss and then ran to Grandpa and Gigi and gave them hugs. Shortly there after she went potty and then ran upstairs to say hello to all the rest of her babies and friends she had missed all week. Now she is just laying on the couch and singing songs.

It is such a blessing to live so close to both Chris and my parents. This is such an amazing blessing for Natalie as well. She gets to spend 3 days a week with Gigi Jackie at home  and Grandpa at night and then able to go and visit her Gigi Shirley and Poppy for extended times like this past week. I know she doesn't realize it now, but this is something really special and not all children have this opportunity!

Thank you so much to my mom and dad for taking care of her this past week! She loves you and has learned so much in just one week! You guys are amazing and we thank you so much!

As always... GOD IS GOOD... ALL THE TIME!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pre-TMEA thoughts

Tomorrow I leave for San Antonio for the annual Texas Music Educators Association clinic and conference. This is one the best of it's kind in the nation and highly effective in helping music educators, young and old alike, learn amazing techniques that they can take back to their classroom and use.

I first arrived at this conference in 1999 when I was in the ATSSB All-State Band. Although most of my time was spent in rehearsals for the All-State Band, I did have some free-time each of the 3 days I was there to venture my way down to the San Antonio Convention Center and see the amazing exhibits and excitement just booming from the building. I already knew I wanted to teach band at this point in my life but this just sealed the deal and was icing on the cake. I also attended this conference in 2001 when I was selected for the ATSSB All-State Band a 2nd time.

When I arrived at OU and the spring semester of my freshman year arrived I was anxious to be able to go to TMEA as a college student and attend sessions specifically geared towards upcoming music educators. Unfortunately, OU encouraged and in some cases required all music ed college students to attend the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention instead. I attended OMEA all 4 years while was in college but during my sophomore and junior years at OU I applied to be a housing chaperon for the ATSSB All-State Band. This allowed me to go to San Antonio for TMEA and attend numerous clinics for college students. It was fabulous being able to go to clinics about teaching music and band. This really "lit my fire" and pushed me to get my degree faster. In fact in part of TMEA I was able to turn a 5 year degree plan into 4 years.

Now OMEA was not near what TMEA is. They really did try and as the years passed and I attended OMEA more and more, it began to get better and attract better clinicians and exhibitors but they were still only about 10% of what TMEA is. Often times, OMEA would bring in clinicians that would be local and good but didn't bring the "draw" that TMEA did.

I am so excited to be able to go to TMEA this year. I have several clinics about teaching elementary music I am planning on attending. I am excited about these because while I Was teaching at Grove and going to OMEA I would always attend the band clinics. It has been years since I have attended an elementary music clinic. I am excited to get new material and new ideas to use in my classroom. I am hoping I can go to TMEA and reclaim the passion and fire I used have in years passed. Even though I am teaching elementary music and would prefer to be teaching band right now, I do still have a passion for teaching in general and I have let this passion and fire dwindle a little in my frustrations of this year. I hope and pray TMEA can relight this fire and get me closer to where I need to be.

I will follow-up with a post-TMEA thoughts blog next week.

God is good... ALL THE TIME!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prenatal Visit #5

Monday, February 6, 2012
"It's still a BOY"
Today I went in for my mid-point check and ultrasound with Dr. Markos. I had to go by myself due to Chris having to be at baseball practice but it all went fine. I first began with the 20 week (I was actually 21 weeks) ultrasound to check the development of my little angel. The US tech was so nice and pointed out SO MANY THINGS! She showed me his brain and other parts of his anatomy such as his kidneys, lungs, heart and other vital organs. With Natalie we had a scare at the mid-point ultrasound with her heart chambers not being visible and so I double and triple checked with the tech to find all four chambers and she found all four and even showed me all four specifically. His heart rate was 137 and strong! It was fascinating to she his heart beat as I watched him move around inside of me. Most of the organ pictures are common to see at the 20 week ultrasound but this tech also showed me the umbilical cord, the bladder and elbow.

She also did a double check for me of the sex of the baby... IT IS STILL A BOY! I got a little worried about 10 minutes before going into the room thinking "Oh no, I have already bought so many things in blue and gotten so excited... what if it is a girl?" Nope... he is still a "HE". In fact, we did not get any good still pictures of him EXCEPT FOR THE GENDER PICTURE!

He was not laying on his back like most babies do for an ultrasound. He was actually laying on his stomach so most of the pictures we did get are not very good or descriptive. As mentioned about the best picture is of the gender identification. We also got a great picture of his spine which we didn't really see well with Natalie. She tried and tried to get a good picture of his face but he was not cooperating. I don't think he liked all of the poking she was doing! At several times through this appointment, she would start laughing and say "Did you feel that? Wow... he is getting mad". I guess he just did not want to be bothered.
He is measuring about 1 week ahead of schedule but Dr. Markos did not change the exact due date since it was not at least 2 weeks ahead of time. On every measurement the tech took except one, he was exactly 1 week early. When she took a measurement of the femur (leg) she said he was measuring nearly 25 weeks. I was a little dumbfounded as to why and her response was simple..."Oh that just means he will be long and tall". I will take that! He is weighing in at 1 pound exactly and all looks fabulous.

I didn't have a long appointment with Dr. Markos at all. In fact, the doctor part of this visit was only about 10 minutes from start to finish. I gained 4.5 pounds this month but the doctor said since last month I didn't gain any, it was OK and encouraged to gain 4 or more this time around. I was a little discouraged with that much of a gain but I can just see the scale rising and since I had lost all of that weight just months before finding out I was pregnant, I just dread having to diet and get it all off again. My blood pressure was fine at 120/78 and everything looked great. I go back in 1 month for a 25 check-up!

I just look at the pictures that I do have of my little Luke and even though I didn't really get any that were traditional looking or definite, it is still apparent that HE IS IN THERE and ALIVE AND WELL! It makes me cry to think that there are people and even worse doctors out there that will see these pictures and know this little person is growing and developing inside someone and then kill it. How can people do this and still hold their heads high? I am just dumbfounded! God's Holy Word states:

"Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3).
We must pray for these people who take not only this scripture and cancel it out of their minds but do the same with the precious life inside of them.

I am so incredibly grateful to The Lord for His continued blessings to me and my family and for my precious little Luke! I cannot wait for him to get here (Actually, I know that the short 19 weeks that remain before he does arrive, are NOT ENOUGH time) and I will love him more than anything. Luke is a gift from God and I thank God for him!

As always... God is Good... ALL THE TIME!