Monday, December 22, 2008

Silk Road

I met Matt today for lunch at Silk Road. It is a Thai restaurant that is owned by one of my student's families. We went there because we love their fried rice and we knew that we could order one thing and it would be enough (plus it is cheap). So, we are sitting there waiting on our food and Mr. Vannonh (owner and father of my student) comes out with fresh spring rolls for us. "They are on the house," he says and motions for us to try them. THEY WERE DELICIOUS... Well, in about 3 minutes our order of fried rice comes out and it was also very delicious.. We are eating our meal and out comes Mr. Vannonh AGAIN with another plate of food for us to try. "Combination Pad Thai -- Number 1 Seller --Try it, it's on the house," says Mr. Vannonh. So, we eat this, too!

The reason behind this post wasn't only to "brag" about how great life is being a teacher, but to remind everyone how the littlest things can make the biggest difference. Mr. Vannonh was making us feel special by giving us free food, but the look on his face after we tried his food was priceless...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Love and Marriage

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the wedding of one of my best friends. Standing through the wedding (apparently, Episcopals stand up a lot during weddings), I had an opportunity to reflect upon my relationship with Cori and upon our marriage. Watching Mary Claire and Andy recite their vows and exchange their rings threw me backward through time to the day when Cori and I said the same words and went through the same actions. I was in love with Cori then... Today, though, I love her in a deeper and more meaningful way than I ever knew that I would. And when I stop to think about that, it occurs to me that if our relationship has grown and developed this much in just two and a half years of marriage, it will be a truly amazing thing to see what we are like together in twenty, thirty, or fifty years.

I am so excited for Mary Claire and for her new marriage, but I know that the best is ahead of them. I would never trade what Cori and I have now for those first few months of marriage. That time was special and new and exciting, but what we have now is... even better. People warn you to enjoy the first few months of marriage because "it all changes when the honeymoon ends." That's true, but I think that--possibly--it all changes for the better. Anyways...

I guess I just wanted to let everyone know how excited and happy Cori and I are for Mary Claire - she is a really special person who has made my time in law school a lot more enjoyable. And I also wanted to reflect on love and marriage...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Working with Children

I don't know how many of you have ever witnessed a child experience an "Aha" moment... Well, I am working with a fantastic group of children for reading and math. These kiddos are either new to the country or need more explicit instruction than what they would normally receive in an everyday classroom. So, I opted to work with them rather than children who already "get it."

I am teaching equivalent fractions today and they FINALLY made the connection between equivalent and equal!!! I have been showing them, but for those teachers out there you know that students do not get it until they are able to see it for themselves! I was SO proud of them!!! Another great accomplishment... Three weeks ago, we received a 5th grader who had just been enrolled into school (I mean JUST ENROLLED!). She moved to the U.S. from El Salvador 4 years ago and has never been in school, so you can just guess how far behind this poor girl is. Today, she volunteered (another big accomplishment) to come up to the board to work an equivalent fraction problem. You know what?!?! She got it right! The whole class erupted in applause! They were just as proud of her as I was. That was definitely one of the moments that made me realize the reason I am a teacher.

I love the school I work at because I am able to work with these special and beautiful children...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Missing my husband...

Well, it is that time of the year again... The time of year that I am without my husband for a week. It is something about the necessity to study for finals and then there is the fact that I don't enjoy helping him study for finals.. So, it is best that he studies with someone else.

It hasn't even been a full day, yet, and I already miss him. I have already washed the dishes, watched a Christmas movie, gone to aerobics, and played on Facebook... I feel like I have nothing left to do and there is 4 days left to go!

Tomorrow night, my parents and sister are coming over and we are going to cook dinner and watch ANOTHER Christmas movie. Thursday night, I have aerobics. So, I just have to keep myself occupied Wednesday night.. ANY TAKERS?!?!

Here is a message for husband if he reads this post: "I love you and come home soon!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting back in the groove...

I never realized just how difficult it would be to get back in the groove of things at school. I was only gone for 5 days and it seems like I am starting the year out all over again. I swear I was a first-year teacher or something :o)

Any advice????

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Decorations 2008

Matt and I have had a GREAT day of decorating for Christmas. We put up the tree with all of our ornaments.. I finally have a mantle to display my beautiful snowman collection that I am EXTREMELY proud of! I added a new piece to my Willow Tree Nativity this year. A few other random decoration pieces are scattered throughout. It is definitely nice to have more space to decorate this year!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big, Bad Teacher (I mean wolf)...

Well.... Today, I had it with my kids. They had been getting lazy with their homework and I was being nice and giving them second, third, fourth, fifth chances on getting it finished. NOT TODAY! Here's how the wonderful day of the Big, Bad Teacher (I mean wolf) started...

8:20 - I say, "Okay guys, bring your math homework back to me." I get about 13 of them and I am a little surprised with how thin the stack is. I hand out Fryar Fun Money to the 13 out of 28 students that turned it in. Any other morning, I would say, "For those of you that didn't finish it, you need to bring it back tomorrow morning." However, today I was bitten by the Big, Bad Wolf. I went up to the board and wrote: NO HOMEWORK and listed everyone who had not turned in their homework. I told them that if I did not have their homework completed by the time recess was over, they were going to S.O.A.R (Second Opportunities Are Realized aka detention). Just let me say... You could hear a pin drop in my room because there weren't any sounds coming out of those adorable little ten-year old mouths due to them being open too wide.

8:25 - The excuses start... "Mrs. Fryar, I didn't understand the assignment." "That's not fair!" "Mrs. Fryar, I was too tired after my soccer game." "Mrs. Fryar!" "Mrs. Fryar!" "Mrs. Fryar!"

8:30 - I inform them that they had 40 minutes yesterday to ask for help while they were GIVEN plenty of time to finish their assignment. I also informed them that soccer games were not an excuse. And I ALSO informed them LIFE ISN'T FAIR!

11:00 - 4 names get erased off the board because they finished the assignment during free times.

1:00 - The students come back from recess and all but 5 of them have finished the assignment. I inform the remaining 5 IRRESPONSIBLE kiddos that they will be attending S.O.A.R.

1:10 - I start calling parents to let them know that their child did not do their homework and has to go to S.O.A.R. to complete it which means that they will have to provide alternate transportation from school.

1:20 - Two parents agree that their child needs to go to S.O.A.R. One parent agrees, but is furious and wanted to schedule a conference with me at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. And I still haven't got a hold of 2 parents.

2:50 - One parent calls back and VERY RUDELY says, "My son can't stay because I can't come get him." I VERY NICELY say,"Okay, he will be getting a zero on the assignment and will have to go to S.O.A.R on December 2."

3:10 - Last parent calls back (already sent the student home because I never got a hold of her) and apologizes for note getting back. Agrees about S.O.A.R. and wants him in it on December 2.

To say the least... I had a pretty long day... My good, responsible students informed me that I am still their favorite teacher!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Deer Slayer

From Matt

As Cori posted last night, I went hunting with Dad this weekend and managed to "bag and tag" three deer. I got two on Saturday morning and the third on Sunday morning. Here are my Deer Stories:

On Saturday morning I got in the deer stand around 6:00. It was really quiet and still until 9:20 when in the clearing on my left and saw a deer standing in a small thicket about 45 yards away. It was a small doe, but I could tell she wasn't a yearling. So I quietly and slowly pulled my 30-30 up and put the crosshairs just behind her right shoulder. I pulled the trigger and... I knew immediately that she was hit. She half stumbled, half ran straight toward me and then veered off to run straight away in front of me. I chambered another round, found her in the scope, and pulled the trigger again. As she disappeared into the woods in front of me, I chambered another round and looked to my left. Much to my surprise, there was another doe standing in the same clearing about 55 yards away. Her back was to me and she was looking over her right shoulder in my direction. So... with my adrenaline pumping, I put the crosshairs on her spine just in front of her hips and squeezed the trigger again... And again, I immediately knew she was hit. She stumbled off into the woods. She had no more than disappeared when ANOTHER deer stepped out into the clearing. So I pulled my gun up and put the crosshairs on it... It, however, was a yearling, so I took my finger off the trigger and just sat there and watched it for a few minutes until it turned around and wandered off in the direction from which it had come.

Once Dad got there about 45 minutes later, we found both deer exactly where I thought they should be based on the last place I saw them... The first was hit in her right shoulder (about 6 inches from where I was aiming), and the second was hit in the left hip (again, about 6 inches from where I was aiming). We dragged them to the truck, took them home, and cleaned them (with Cori and Mom's help, of course!). I was really glad to have ended my ten-year no-deer streak, and Dad was really proud of me. So - based on Saturday morning alone, the weekend was a success. But Sunday topped it off!

I got in the stand at 5:50 Sunday morning. At 7:30, a small doe and yearling walked out in the clearing to my left, but I let them walk (after watching them through the scope for about 4 minutes). And it was worth it... At 8:50, I saw movement - again, in the clearing to my left. About 100 yards away, a deer stepped out. I pulled the scope up and watched it as it walked straight toward me. When it got to a spot about 80 yards from my stand, it stopped and lifted its head to eat briar leaves above it. That was my chance! I put the crosshairs in the center of its chest and pulled the trigger. And... It fell down! Then it got up and stumbled away... I heard it fall down in the woods twice. When I got down about an hour later to go find it, I saw a decent blood trail leading from the clearing into the woods. Following the blood trail about 30 yards, I found the deer--a 5-point buck. I had hit it square in the middle of the chest. When Dad got there, he helped me drag it to the truck. We took it home and cleaned it. Cori, Mom, Dad, and I had a lot of fun cleaning the deer - Cori is really good at skinning deer and stripping their tenderloins! Now, between my deer and the ones Dad has gotten, we will have plenty of deer meat for the next year... And, I feel great about succeeding at something that I have, historically, not been very good at... And, the best of all, Dad was proud of me for killing three deer in two days with four bullets. So... those are my Deer Stories. Anybody want to come over for deer chili? :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Deer Hunting

Matt killed 3 deer this weekend. Saturday, he managed to get 2 does. Sunday, he wound up with a buck (5 point). YEA FOR MATT!

More to come (from the deer slayer, himself) regarding the stories behind these 3 deer...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Aftermath

From Matt

I sit here today proud to be an American. Not, I would like to point out, because Barack Obama won the election or because an black man rose to the highest office in the land. Rather, I am proud to be an American because I was able, again, to witness a peaceful and democratic transfer of power. We take this for granted. Amid all the debates and negative attack ads and personal emotions we have regarding the election, I think we forget that the United States of America is unique in our world... No other nation has had such a successful and long-lasting "experiment in democracy." So - I am proud to be an American.

That said... You should have known I would have to give a brief rant regarding the outcome of the election. I mean, what the hell were my fellow Americans thinking?!?! Christians who voted for Obama? Really? What does the Bible say about gay marriage and abortion? A majority of people with graduate and doctoral degrees who voted for Obama? Really? The people who make the most money (because they earned degrees that allow them to make the most money) voted for the candidate who want to increase their taxes and give the money to welfare? Soldiers in Virginia and Maryland who voted for Obama? Really? The people who pride themselves with protecting our nation voted for the candidate who wants to sit down with the Iranian president without preconditions? I am saddened and sick to my stomach at the thought of what the next four years hold. Forget the conspiracy theories (Christian and otherwise)... Whether he's the Antichrist or was planted by terrorists - I'm more worried about what he is going to do to our taxes, our economy, our national security, and our values as a society!

So... Okay... I would say I feel better having gotten that off my chest, but I really don't. Oh well... I, and the rest of our great nation, will suffer through four years of an inexperienced, untested, liberal president. Maybe we'll get it right in 2012. One could only hope....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

5th Grade Election Watch Party

From Cori:

Tonight, we had a 5th grade presidential watch party at my school. Matt and I wanted my kids to get to see some presidential coverage. They ate pizza, played POTUS (same as BINGO), and watched the results come in for the East coast. It was great experience for them, but sad for us... We were having to hide our pain as the results continued to pour in for Obama. Not a pretty sight. We are at home now and are able to express our opinions a little more freely. I am going to be in serious prayer tonight and the next 4 years. The future of our country depends on it.

Presidential Election

From Matt
The time has come, as it does once every four years, for the United States to elect a new President. It seems like every election is "the most important election of our time," so I'm not going to sit here to expound upon how crucial this election is over all others before it. I will say, though, that this presidential election is important to the future of our nation... And I sincerely hope that Americans are not so short-sighted as to vote for the wrong person for the wrong reasons.

Because it is unlikely that anyone will read this before voting today, and even more unlikely that it will sway anyone's opinions here in the eleventh hour, I will not go into my spiel regarding how unqualified Barack Obama is to be President and why his policies (tax, economic, social, foreign affairs) will prove to be harmful to America and Americans. Rather, I will simply say that John McCain, though possibily not the ideal Republican candidate is the more qualified, more capable, and more "user-friendly" candidate, and I--with all that I am--hope and pray that he wins. For my family, myself, my (future) children, my friends, and my country...

It will all be decided tonight... And you better believe I'll be up until it's finished! Until then - in the words of several great Americans - "God bless you and God bless the United States!"