Thursday, September 27, 2007

Some Good Tech News

Georgia Tech football has had a rough couple of weeks, but here's some good news about one of our players who had a frightening injury last Saturday. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's way too early for stuff like this...isn't it?

Today, while shipping an eBay package, I saw a yellow one of these plastered on our local post office dropbox:

I've heard they are everywhere (at least that's what the interweb tells me), but this is the first one I've seen or heard about. Not that I'm even considering this guy or even know that much about him (though I do appreciate his pro-life stance), I just found it an odd place for a bumper sticker. Besides, isn't that some sort of defacement of government property to put a bumper sticker on a mailbox? What does that say about a Presidential candidate when his supporters are campaigning in an illegal manner? But maybe that's the point?

I don't think it will help him get many votes here, anyway, since I think that half of the people living in our zip code aren't even legal citizens and/or don't read English. (Last week while in the post office I had to help someone distinguish between the "stamped mail" and "metered mail" boxes--things like that happen often.) Well, at least it made my weekly postal drop-off a bit more interesting!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In other news...

I am now officially a part-time English tutor for an online company! I was a writing tutor in college, and this is very similar, just in an online capacity. The job doesn't pay as much as, say, giving private lessons, but it is more than I made working part-time in college. Plus, the hours are very flexible, I can work from home, and I feel safe knowing it a secure, professional site and they value anonymity between tutors and students. I also like the fun whiteboard feature! :)

My release from educational limbo coincides nicely with the interesting pedagogical discussions going on over at How Kids Think (HT and Congrats to Kristen!). If you are a current or former teacher, or have kids in school, or just like talking about how we learn, especially from a Christian perspective, please consider joining in--the project will only last about two months. Plus, there are great incentives.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Small Blessings

Tonight I went to dinner with some friends and brought Baby J. He has recently begun teething. Usually, chewing on a toy will help when we're out for short trips. The doc told me this week to get some baby Orajel, but I thought he was OK without it for a few days until I made my next grocery run. He's such a happy boy, always smiles and loves being with people and that's always been enough to distract him. This time, however, he was inconsolable. I think he may have his first actual teeth coming in -- he's never been this traumatized before. Nursing eased his pain for a short while (long enough for me to gobble half my dinner) but was only a temporary fix. He didn't just cry in the restaurant, he screamed bloody murder. You could hear him OVER the two dozen-odd other children AND the mariachi band. None of my usual soothing tricks appeased him, including old faithful -- the mirror gag. I left early.

On the way home, he was screaming in the carseat and no toy would console him. I sang to distract him (curse my broken CD player), but during pauses he whimpered loudly. I didn't think I could make a trip into a store with him like that -- the horrible howling cry of a baby in pain. I knew I needed something to help ease his discomfort quickly, but I'd already given him baby Tylenol once today and didn't want to give it to him again. Thankfully, our local pharmacy has a drive through, and I persuaded the nice night-shift pharmacist girl to get me some baby Orajel. She was so gracious and efficient, and as a bonus J was mesmerized by the lights so he calmed down long enough for me to pay her. I belted out snatches of random camp songs and lullabies all the way home and administered the stuff as soon as we got in the door. Currently, he's nursing again, but this time he's actually smiling at me. Maybe he'll even go to sleep.... Thank you, Lord, for 24-hour drive-thru pharmacies!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Quality Children's Books

Certain events have transpired in the last week that have turned my thoughts towards books: the death of a favorite author, a recent post on the decline of reading at AT:Nursery, and, most notably, the process of packing up our entire book collection so they could replace our carpet and then painstakingly sorting and organizing and replacing them on the shelves over the last 8 days. I've been attempting to weed out our ever-growing collection with a series of questions to help me decide which books I should keep. Like beachfront property, our shelf space is valuable and I want to make sure that only the best books reside there.

  • Do I want to read it? (If I already own it, usually, yes, so that one doesn't help much, though I have found a few "free" books I could do without...)

  • Will I read it again? (probably, if it's fiction, although I'm itching to try out paperbackswap with a few titles)

  • Is is a classic and/or will I ever want to teach it in a literature class?

  • Will I want to reference something in it and either wouldn't want to take the time to go to the library (dictionary) or wouldn't be able to find it at my local branch (ex: The Quotable Lewis)?

  • Will I want to read it to Jacob or let Jacob read it when he is older?

  • That last question is the most important, I think, and has helped me when deciding what makes a quality book -- classic, children's or otherwise. Obviously, we all have childhood favorites, but who can remember them all without wandering bookstore and library shelves for days at a time? And I don't think anyone wants to wade through the drivel found on most chain bookstore shelves. There ARE some great children's books out there, which I found out from a professor in our Master's program who loved using picture books with ESOL students in the middle grades; however, weeding out the wheat from the chaff is a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Where to begin? So, for other parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, or anyone wishing to buy a present for a particular little boy (or girl, as may be in your case), here are a few time-tested lists.

  • Jerram Barr's Booklist for Children

  • This is a monster list of titles by a professor at Covenant College. You will probably have read or at least recognize many of these titles, and I count it joy that we have copies of a number of these gems. There is always room on our shelves for these titles...

  • Caldecott Medal Winners and Honor Books

  • These are judged based on the illustrations, but also tell good stories. A place to start for younger kids (like J!) who can't read yet and don't understand the words but love looking at pictures.

  • Newbery Medal Winners and Honor Books

  • Awarded annually to the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children," many of these titles I fondly remember from grade-school, including From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Twenty-One Balloons, and, of course, A Ring of Endless Light.

  • Charlotte Mason's Early Years Read-Alouds

  • A list of books for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds that are time-tested.

  • Kristen's Best Children's Story Bibles

  • How could I neglect to mention this?

  • 1000 Good Books by the Classical Christian Education Support Group

  • A ginormous list of books, categorized by age. Overwhelming, but a good resource nonetheless.

    Additionally, here are some short lists of well-designed, eye-catching simple books for infants.
  • Rachel Jones' Board Books

  • AT Nursery's 10 Classic Books for Babies and Toddlers

  • And, for those of you just itching to write and create something for your little one:
    How to Make Your Own Board Book

    P.S. For those wanting to buy gifts for baby J, and you want to know what we already have, check our our Library Thing catalog -- our attempt to keep track of every single book we own. It's constantly being updated, and I'm woefully behind (about halfway), but I promise to update it completely in time for Christmas shopping!

    Monday, September 10, 2007


    Georgia Tech pummels Samford, 69-14

    The Yellow Jackets climb up to #15 in this week's AP rankings. w00t!

    Plus, as an added bonus:

    The Dawgs fall to the Gamecocks (Disclaimer: I felt a little dirty about cheering for Spurrier, but it had to be done.)

    Yay for college football!!!

    PS: Hey Auburn, what's up with you guys this season?