So, Mary wanted to make Valentines for her classmates. She decided to make hot chocolate on a stick (I know, random, but we saw it on the internet a while back). She did a great job–did almost all of the work herself, in fact!
She stirred it for roughly 100 years, until all the chocolate was totally melted.
Very melty chocolate:
After she put it in the pans, she added sprinkles, because all sweets are better with sprinkles, she tells me.
Lots of sprinkles.
She put a heart marshmallow on each one.
Wesley even helped her (although he had opted for the box of Star Wars cards, himself).
She put a card on each one.
And now she has a box of them, ready to go. I’m not sure why Wesley looks like he’s trying to garrotte her in this photo–in real life it was sort of sweet but in the picture he looks like he’s up to no good.
Conor went to conferences today for both kids–both of them are enjoying school.
Both teachers reported that they are very hard workers and respectful to others, which I was delighted to hear.
Mary’s doing well in all of her subjects, especially reading; she’s working on taking criticism a bit more constructively, but I’m sure she’ll get there, since she does a good job of that at dance class. She is reading Treasure Island (abridged, I assume?) and is always nice, respectful, and patient with her classmates.
Wesley is learning very quickly about things like coloring and math. He knows all of his letters and sounds. I think his biggest learning curve has been social, and his teachers said that he was very quiet and withdrawn at first, but now he plays with the other kids and has lots of friends, so that’s good. They also remarked that he has excellent speech and that they enjoy being able to have real conversations with him, which I suspect is also something that he has improved over the semester, since he was shy with them at first.
So, overall, school’s going great and they both like their teachers very much!
Today was the kids’ first day of school. They had a great time and both of them loved their teachers. (Hurray!)
They had to get up early, of course; Wesley didn’t have much trouble with that. Mary, on the other hand, had to be pried out of bed. As usual.
Here’s Wesley, ready to go:
And here’s Mary in her new first-grade uniform:
Wesley got ready and everything, but he didn’t sleep well last night; he was too excited about school. So by the time we got to the parking lot, he was…well, he didn’t know what hit him.
Mary held Wesley’s hand and led him to his classroom. She said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take very good care of him.” (What a good sister.)
On another note, I just realized that this week is my ten-year teaching anniversary. Ten years ago this week, I started teaching my first class. I cannot believe it’s been that long, but it also seems like I’ve been a teacher forever, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising.
Definitely one of the three or four best decisions I ever made.
Mary’s class has “journal time” every morning–each student writes a journal entry in his/her composition book. Recently, they’ve been practicing writing letters, so the teacher puts a little letter on the projector, and the students write back.
Tuesday’s installment (which I happened to see because of a parent-teacher organization meeting) was the following letter from the teacher:
Where is the snow? Can you write a poem about snow? Write back!
[heart picture], Ms. M”
Mary’s response said,
“January 18, 2012
Dear Ms. M,
The snow is in the sky. Yes, I can.
[heart picture], Mary”
Today was graduation!
I wore my fancy gown and hat, and the academic hood, which is put on as part of the ceremony:
Then we wandered off to take some pictures.
We read the inscription on the fountain.
Wesley hung out with Grandpa Moo.
Mary gave me a snuggle.
So, for those of you who want to know: the dissertation defense was great. I was nervous, of course, but I have a lovely committee, all of whom came in and said insightful things about my project–probed the holes in the argument, suggested areas that need development or refinement, and offered brilliant contextual thoughts. It was a helpful and rich discussion and–despite my nerves–I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt totally inarticulate, in the moment, but even so, the conversation was a great thing. It’s a one-of-a-kind event (when else will I have a group of warm, intelligent scholars gathered in one room to discuss MY work?).
It is an odd procedure, in some ways–but it caps off the Ph.D. process nicely. And it has been a process. I’ve been working on this degree since 2004. My dissertation has changed and evolved over time. Even though there are always things to fix–and I’ve got a list of them!–I am pleased with the final product and I think it has potential to be a book (which is the end goal). I’ve worked on this dissertation during my office hours, in the mornings before the rest of the family got up, while I was nursing a baby, in the car on the way to visit family, etc., etc., etc. It’s amazing to me that it’s finished.
After the defense, Conor and the kids picked me up and handed me a gin and tonic and we drank a toast there in the parking lot (the kids did NOT get gin and tonic). And we went out to dinner and I tried to absorb the idea that I am done. Done.