Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mrs. Mozingo

The summer before I entered the fourth grade, we moved to a new school district. While I was sad to leave the school I knew so well for a larger school, I hoped that the change would be just what I needed. The previous year, I had a teacher that didn't like kids who didn't have parents on the PTA or have a lot of money. My parents didn't fit those categories so I was not on her list of favorite students. She routinely overlooked my raised hand, pointed out my flaws to the class and made me feel like I was not good enough to be in her class. Prior to that, I'd always been the teacher's pet so this was an unwelcome change and really threw my eight year old mind into a whirlwind. My grades and my attitude reflected my unhappiness and I'm sure my family wondered what happened to their kid who loved school so much.

When I entered the fourth grade at my new school, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my new teacher was a sweet woman that radiated love for every child in her class. In her eyes, we were all equal and she wanted nothing more than to show each of us love and teach us to love to learn. Within a couple of weeks, I loved school again. I loved being in her class.

Mrs. Mozingo loved to read. Every day after lunch, she would read aloud to the class from a "chapter book" and at the end of each chapter, we were left begging for more. It wasn't just because the book was so fantastic, it was often because of the way she read it. She loved reading to us and we all knew it. We would get so involved in the stories that we would literally lose ourselves in them. At the age of nine, that can be unusual. I remember sobbing in class when the hounds died in "Where The Red Fern Grows". I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn't care if anyone saw me, I was sad. Suddenly, I was a voracious reader. I couldn't get enough. I fell in love with every author, book and character Mrs. Mozingo introduced me to. When she read from Shel Silverstein, I knew I'd love him forever. At every opportunity, I'd check his books out at the library and memorize every poem I could get my hands on.

Looking back now, I realize that a lot of who I am as an adult, started in the fourth grade. So many of the things I am so passionate about came from that year I spent learning from her. She was a wonderful teacher and her passion spilled over into her students.

However, it wasn't her passion for reading and writing that I believe changed me the most. It was her love. The day before I walked into her class, I had no hope. I'd had a bad year the year before. My home life was shaky. I was in a brand new school. I could have been a lost cause. I could have remained hopeless. But, I walked into her class and she loved me. She treated me like a daughter. She didn't care if my parents didn't have a lot of money, she cared about me. I can't stress enough how much that affected me.

Mrs. Mozingo still lives near my parents. A few years back, I ran into her at a local restaurant when I was home for a visit. Over fifteen years had passed and when she saw me, she smiled. She remembered me. I was taken back to the fourth grade with her smile. I instantly felt like she still cared about me. We chatted briefly and once we got into the car, I cried. I cried because I hadn't told her how much she meant to me so many years ago or how I felt that she is the reason that I love to read and learn. She's the reason that I have now passed that same passion to my own children. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and long to thank her. I've thanked God for Mrs. Mozingo so many times and I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only child that passed through her class that has done so. I will tell her. She's an amazing woman and she deserves to know what a difference she made.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Teachers

A few days ago, I got to the preschool to pick up the kids and realized that I was fifteen minutes early. I had a snack with me and a magazine so I figured I'd just enjoy those in the quietness of the car. After parking, I looked up to see that one of the classes was outside in the side lawn of the school eating their lunch on the grass. The weather was beautiful so what a wonderful treat for a bunch of energetic four year olds! Their teacher, Mrs. F, was sitting on the ground with them, also enjoying her lunch. After they were done, they packed up their lunch boxes and formed a circle to play "Duck, Duck, Goose" on the grass. Again, Mrs. F joined them, even sitting "Criss Cross Applesauce" just like the kids. As the second child took his place going around the circle patting heads, he came to Mrs. F and excitedly patted her head and yelled, "GOOSE!" Without so much as a flinch, Mrs. F hopped up and chased him around the circle and then took her turn as the head patter. Doesn't seem that strange to you? Some of the kids in this school have parents who were taught by Mrs. F. She's the age of the grandparents of her students. It warmed my heart to see a teacher, who by all means deserves to sit out a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose" and take a break from a long day with twelve preschoolers, take her place and enjoy the game.

I'm so thankful for the teachers that both of my kids have this year. Their preschool is fantastic and they both have teachers who sincerely love children and love teaching them. It has made the biggest difference in both of my little people this year. They love school and speak so sweetly of their teachers.

Preschool teachers deserve recognition in Heaven. They love on kids all day. They brush away tears, wipe noses and bottoms, read stories and encourage all day long...to people who don't always appreciate it. Or smell nice, for that matter. And, they didn't even give birth to them so the things they do really are out of kindness.

I have a post coming up on a teacher that changed my life. I can't wait to share her with you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Updates and Such

So, it's been a while since I've update what is actually going on in the Little People house. First, let me say...it's December, right? Because with temps in the 70's, I'm starting to get confused! I see on Good Morning America that some people are actually getting winter weather and I both envy and pity those people. Of course, I do it while I sweat and consider digging out my summer clothes again.

Things here are moving relatively smoothly. Since it is December, I can officially say that Big Daddy is coming home next month! It's not soon enough for me but I'll take it! I've finished most of my Christmas shopping, with only a couple of small things left to buy. With traffic and the crowds of mean and scrooge-like people, I may just do that from the comfort of my chair. With some hot chocolate by my side, pretending that it's winter.

On another note, I have been racking my brain to figure out stuff to put in the box to send to Big Daddy for Christmas. I don't want to send much because he will have to turn around and ship it right back home since he won't have space to bring it back NEXT MONTH (sorry, had to throw that in there!) when he returns. But, I want to send something! I have ideas: hot chocolate with some yummy things to add in, homemade peppermint bark/almond toffee, listerine strips (he's a little addicted to them) and some pictures and art work from the kids. Any other ideas? Also, to totally swipe an idea from Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes, if any of you want to send him a Christmas card to brighten his day, I'd be glad to share his address. Not to worry, it's just a box somewhere in TX and the military takes it from there so I'm not giving away any top secret information. I think getting a bunch of Christmas cards from you nice people just might make him smile!

Now, I think I will go get the kids up from their naps and let them play outside and enjoy this weather!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What Can You Do?

Katherine over at Daring Young Mom has a post up today that spoke directly to my heart. There is flooding in Washington (where Katherine lives) and many people have lost everything they own just two weeks before Christmas. I'm sure at this point, Christmas is the last thing on their minds. Their homes and belongings are washed away by unrelenting flood waters. Katherine has several ways that you can help. Go and read what she has to say. She's seen this devastation firsthand and like her, I believe that people pull together and help each other when things like this happen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

These Boots Are Made For Sleeping

A few days ago, Brother and I were out shopping and saw a pair of little boys cowboy boots. He begged for them and I caved and bought them. After all, he never asks for things like shoes and the mere thought that he may be the only male on the planet begging for a pair of shoes and enjoying shoe shopping, warmed my heart to the core. And, they were cheap cute.

When we came home, he immediately put the boots on and has had them on ever since. He allows me to take them off of him to dress him and bathe him. That's it. What's that? What about sleeping? Oh, he wears them. Don't tell me you don't sleep with your cowboy boots on.

Because they are so cheap cute, they don't bend very well so he walks like he's been riding a horse. I'm starting to put this whole cowboy picture together.

Last night, I wanted to take a picture of him with the boots on so I told him to stand still and smile because I wanted a picture of a real cowboy.

"I AM NOT A COWBOY!"

"But Brother, you have real cowboy boots so you look like a real cowboy!"

"No Mom, I look like PaPa." (My dad would be thrilled to know that Brother wants to look like him!)

At any rate, I now have to look for pajamas for the little guy that will match the boots. Because he's not taking them off any time soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Love You More


I was recently contacted and asked to review a children's book,
I Love You More by Laura Duksta. I read the book to my kids the day it arrived and they loved it! This book is one of the sweetest books I've read. It's a flip book so on one side, you read from a mother's perspective to her child and then flip it over to read the child's perspective to his mother.

I love you longer than the longest lollipop ever lasted.
I love you louder than the loudest rocket ship ever blasted.
I love you taller than the tallest giraffe ever grown.
I love you more, so much more than you’ve ever known.


We have read it many, many times since it came in the mail and each time, I love it more. Pun totally intended! The book has sparked a new game in our house, the "I love you more!" game where when someone says "I love you" you must respond with "I love you more!" and then come up with your own little phrase to follow.

Not only is the book sweet, the story of the author really touched me. You can read more about her here.

The only complaint about this book came from Sister who was appalled that the child in the book was a boy, not a girl. Seriously, this is her complaint about everything lately from the person who checks us out at the grocery store to the local weather reporter. So, don't hold that against the book, ok?