Friday, June 24, 2011

The End/Beginning

Hello Friends,
This blog has come to its natural end...but not to worry, I have started a new one for the next big adventure in my life.  It is called  HomeBuilding Countdown.  Here's the address:
I sure hope you will join me in this next journey.  I have so much enjoyed your encouragement and comments as I worked through my last year of teaching.  Really.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Retirement Party: part 2-The Photos

Here we go...
The morning started with free Zumba for everyone in honor of Samantha and I...

Yes.  The one in the middle is the instructor!
(and the author of my retirement did read it, right?)

Then on to decorating.  It's a party.   Must have balloons...
Here they are escaping out of my car...

Safely grasped!

And tied to the fence to lead the way in.
The building in the back used to be the BOE building,
and both of us were hired in that building...full circle!

We went with a Metamorphosis theme and monarch butterflies are the ones that we raised each fall in our classroom. These butterflies were to write us a note and hang on the tree.
The tree has been part of our classroom for many many years.

We decorated it each season.
When we took it back to school after the party on Saturday, it got put in the main hallway. By the time I got there Monday morning it was gone...trash. sigh.
Maybe just as well, because I would have had trouble throwing it away myself...

These were the directions we left on every table
and most were followed very nicely!

Amy brought cupcakes. Connie and I made cupcake toppers that looked as good as the cupcakes tasted...if I do say so my own self.
Need any for a party????
We got milkweed seeds to pass out to everyone.
They had this note from us about our career in helping all those little ones "become"....
"For our entire careers, we have believed in, encouraged and witnessed the power and magic of transformation.  We have seen many 'caterpillars' turn into butterfles!
Plant these seeds, each of you, to encourage others
to BECOME all that they are meant to be. 
Think of us when you see a monarch..."
Finally, we both took a great school picture.
Good thing, since there won't be any more of those.
Beautiful magnolia's from Claudia's own yard.
Some of my most favorite "big kids"
who could have been anywhere on a Saturday,
but came to see us...awwww.

My most favorite teacher to be.
I feel good about leaving things in the hands of upcoming teachers like Jen.
Oh, and you can get a glimpse, over our shoulders, of the slide show that Connie put together.

And always remember:

And this, I believe, is the end of this blog.  Thanks for joining me in the joyful journey! 
Next up....Home Building Countdown!  Is that really retirement?
Love, Donna

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Graduation

I'm off to Charlotte today to see my sweet niece, Chelsea, graduate from the Arts Institute.  She has worked hard for this and I am so proud of her.  She requested a woolie...doesn't that warm an Auntie's heart?  Here she is...the woolie, not Chelsea!
The cap and gown are scrapbook thingies.

That's a happy face!
Yikes.  You can see things up this close....
And here she is matted. 
She will go in an 11x14 black frame,
but I can't get a picture of that with the glass in.

Hope she likes her.
And knows how much I love her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gift of Words

From my good friend, Karyn, whose daughter, was in my class this year and who is a strong woman of faith and an English, she gets it.  She really gets it and I cry, still, each time I read this.  Amazed, yet again.
Get your towel ready for some sweating eyes.

The classroom is empty and silent
The remnants of the day are scattered throughout
Children are gone, but the work remains
It's an unlikely mission field.
For years she has toiled here
Carefully preparing and repairing little hearts and minds
Too soon hardened by this world
Planting seeds of love and knowledge
Watering with compassion
Inspiring growth
Feeding with truth and patience
Protecting these tiny sprouts from the predators of doubt and neglect.
For a season they are hers
Prior to sending them out to nourish a world that is starving.
A lifetime of harvests she has reaped
Surveying the field one final time she wonders...
She does not fear their future without her.
She knows she has prepared them well.
As she turns the lights off in the room one last time,
Her children, far too numerous to count,
rise, and call her BLESSED.

Gotta go get my towel. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Retirement Party:part 1

I am sitting here so very humbled and amazed. 
People came to the party.
The smiles were plentiful.
The hugs warm.
The wishes for happiness even warmer.
The food was great.

I loved seeing so many friends. 
I loved seeing a group of my college age kids sitting together and remembering...and laughing at the photos of themselves as tiny ones.
I loved the affirmations of a job well done.
I loved when Greyson, as serious as could be, said, "You're really retiring?  But, I am going to miss you." 
Then my eyes started to sweat!

I read the sweetest notes on the butterflies that they hung on our tree...
-You are a good a artist.
-I miss you.  I love you.
-I'm so glad I was in your class.  Good jod, Mrs. Lohr
-I loved this class all the time.
Dang sweaty eyes!

The butterfly notes from the college kids were just as sweet and quite a bit longer.  They didn't have to come.  They didn't have to tell me I made a difference.  
One of the darlings brought a picture of us from her kindergarten days, still in the little frame we made for it.  I had a matching one on the photo board!
One of the other little darlings...well, actually quite large darlings with facial hair and a girl friend, but still adorable, came up to me as he was leaving and said as he opened his arms. "I'm only doing this once!" 

I am tired.
I am happy.
I made a difference.

I still have gifts to open.

There were so many pictures taken, but I am too tired to do that bit now...can you wait?  Please.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Packing a Career

So, it has been a long couple of days trying to pack up my teaching career.  I have been touching all my stuff and thinking and remembering...and deciding if it stays or goes with me.
What?  Why would it go with me you ask....
It's my stuff.  I have used it and loved it and seen kids learn with it and have fun.
Who else will it be important to?  Everyone has their own way...not as good as my way, of course, but still - oh, just kidding!  I absolutely cannot stand the idea of my good stuff getting tossed.  Can't stand it at all.  So, I am packing.
Also, I might like to teach a college course or help with homeschoolers somehow or give it all to my neice who says she is going to be a teacher or if all else fails, get it packaged prettily and sell it to someone else who will love and use it...and I can go places...Slovenia, places.
Who else will love the shiny colors and round circles?  Who else will want to see the joy in kid's faces as they put them over their eyes to see the world in new colors or when they double them up to make new colors...what happy dicoveries.

Who else will see the world of possibilities in a tin of used crayons?  And boy oh boy, do I wish you could smell the smell when I open that huge tin.  As powerful as the mimeo smell.  Different entirely, but just as powerful.

I am making progress.  Don't you love how it always looks worse first?  The stacks are books that have my name in them...LOVE kids books.  Can't leave them behind.  Can't.  And this is just one of the sections of stacks...yikes.  :-)

Did find these lovely stacking boxes that are sturdy and see through.  Of course they aren't quite wide enough for two books...I'm thinking I need some smaller ones so I can have "collections"...yes.  That's the ticket.

And then there's the other stuff that doesn't stack all that well. Sigh.

And, OH, the stuff you find...spiders (yes, I know he only has six legs, but I could not squeeze another pipe cleaner in the bead hole, but he is still awfully cute) AND ... well, the hair! 

I am going to work on being that skinny again, though...
So, I am not done with the packing and perhaps I will show you the completed look in a couple of days.  Got a party to decorate for and attend first!

Interesting that new beginnings are always attached to endings....interesting and full.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zero Days Left

I have never been emotional about the last day of school really. I figure I have spent the entire year getting them ready to go on to first grade with confidence. If they leave me smiling and feeling on top of the world then I have done my job well.
Today, they left smiling, happy and ready to take on first grade.

There were a couple of moments...mothers saying thank-you almost always does me in.
One of our wonderful 5th grade teachers has her kids write thank you cards to all the teachers that they believe have helped them get to where they are...ready to go to middle school...and then they take a Victory Lap around the school and deliver their cards. I got 3 from her students that I had in Kindergarten!
One of my little ones who will be going into 3rd grade next year gave me a card and wanted to know how we are going to stay in touch now. We were in the same hallway this year and had hugs aplenty. I found her and assured her that we would find a way.

Yesterday the kids got to pick all the things they wanted to do today and it was my job to find a way to fit them all into the day! We created from the scrap box (hardly anything is more fun than cutting, gluing, coloring pieces of paper left over from old's fun to hear them remember what the paper was used for originally), had bubbles and races outside, painted (I almost never get the paints out, but they did a great job), made BIG pictures on BIG paper(they remembered the 9' tall Scakagrall we had made at Halloween), had a picnic snack, sang favorite songs and packed all of their stuff. It is an indication that they don't really get "it" about the end of the year when they ask, "Why are we taking our art boxes home?"...
They wore home the sailor hats they wore the first day of school and were astonished that they fit!
Here are some photos of the day:
 Some wonderful "scrap" ocean mural!

Good toss and good catch....(as we show them how it is supposed to be done)
  Bad toss and wet feet!

      Flying frogs or gorillas....

        Bubble magic!

  Coconut race.  And then it was lunchtime.There was a lovely salad, but this  One of our colleagues provided lunch and the cake!  Yummy.

BIG paper pictures.  Me and my monsters.

  And painting.  Look at that concentration.
Remember when I said that if they leave happy and confident then I have done my job well...

        ...job well done!
It ended well.
All that is left is paperwork, packing and the PARTY!