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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teachers Kids

I recently read a Facebook article that was titled "10 ways of knowing you grew up with a mom as a teacher". Not all of those apply to my children but only because my children's list would be titled..

"10 super awful/neat things that happen when both of your parents work at your super small school"

1-Your parents know that you have failed a test before you do.
Poor Goober, he can already tell by the look on my face when he walks in my classroom door whether or not he aced or bombed his latest scripture quiz/ latin quiz/ reading quiz. Most of the time he has done well but there are some doozies mixed in.

2-Your coaches/ teachers know that sending you to your parents is a worse punishment than what they could hand out.
Its true, sometimes my kiddos teachers or coaches have just simply emailed us or told us about their behavior instead of giving them a cougar alert or mark. They know that our discipline will handle the behavior far better than any thing they could take away or any scolding they could give. I'm behind them 100%.

3-All of your uniform shirts have at least 5 other kids name in sharpie written on the tags and then scratched out.
All of my kids get hand me down clothes from my students. I think I have stepped foot into our uniform store once and that caused such a panic attack that I ran out and went straight to Braums for some ice cream therapy. We are quite happy with our hand me down uniforms, we spiff them things up with new shoes and backpacks.

4-They think they are legendary.
I guess its pretty cool to walk through campus and have senior girls yell your name and give you hugs....or when you are invited out onto the field to be the top of the cheerleader pyramid. Its even more stellar when the head football coach offers you advice and actually gives you an official CCA spirit wear shirt.

5-Your parents have embarrassed you in every possible way.
Sometimes kisses don't get handed out until the school bell has rung and since there is just no good reason to not give kisses they happen in front of all of your friends. Adam and I have danced in front our kids friends, we have dressed in ninja turtle pjs in front of our kids friends and WAIT FOR IT, we are the Masters of Ceremonies at this week's coming up Pep Rally...our poor children don't even know what kind of cheese we have planned for that solid hour with a microphone and spotlight!!

6-You know where all of the secret places are at school.
Goober can flip any breaker, find any power tool, get a hold of wasp spray or a new packet of paper towels at any given moment. His daddy is the master of keys here and I'm pretty sure he has been in every nook and cranny. He has been on top of the roof with Adam, he has scraped up tile with Adam, he has used the big digger to move playground sand....HECK, all of my children have stayed the night on CCA campus before, camping out in a classroom while the elevator was being installed.

7-You feel as if you have 50 moms.
Adam and I are not the kind of parents who get offended if you discipline our children, even in front of us, ..its truly takes a village. Therefore, Baby Boy gets told several times a day to "chill pill"...a phrase that most teachers know I say constantly to my two youngest to get them to calm it down. Ribbit is told " I know that your mommy would not want you to talk in a Baby voice" by every teacher she tries it on. Goober gets reminded that "I know how your mom and dad expect you to behave" daily and I LOVE THAT. There are eyes on them at all times and in the same token there is ALWAYS someone to love, hug, kiss and squeeze my kids.

8-You have never once sat with your parents at a sporting event.
Its true. They know everyone; teachers, parents, students and they know that they can roam and sit and probably bum a meal off of each one of them. They know if they sit with us they will be expected to ACTUALLY WATCH the game....but if they sit with one of my students they may get some screen time by playing on their cell phone. They know another parent or teacher will give them horsey rides, tickle them until they drool or encourage them to yell cheers. Or, if sports are just not your thing, like Ribbit, then you know you can sit and color during the entire volleyball game in your mommies classroom.

9-You go to school 7 days a week.
We noted this summer that there was rarely a day when we weren't at school..except for our time in Alabama. We would go up to see Daddy, to workout, to play basketball in the air condition, to paint, to watch movies on momma's BIG SCREEN SMARTBOARD!! And now that school has started we come up here on the weekends..sometimes for sporting events, sometimes to play on the playground, we walk the campus, ride our bikes up here, grab things we forgot, etc. Its not uncommon for our two littles to ask at the breakfast table " when are we going to school today?"...not IF, but WHEN!

10-You attend 500 birthday parties, graduation parties, retirement parties, weddings, going away parties, college signings, NJHS service opportunities, student council movie nights, auctions, etc.
My family is invited to several things a weekend since we literally cover every grade from PK3-Senior. I LOVE THAT WE HAVE A COVENANT FAMILY but I think sometimes our kids have no clue what a weekend really looks likes :). We are careful to not over plan but then again we love to celebrate with others and we love to have them celebrate with us too. The thing about small schools is that birthday parties normally include the whole grade, and then if you have a sibling well then just bring them all along!!!!

Using up our waterpark passes before Labor Day. 

5th grade orientation. I was not supposed to be there, but I am teacher so I break RULES!!

She came with me to Zumba and instead of dancing she colored a picture to match the ottoman. I think we may have a future art teacher on our hands!

Bambi paitings for my cousins's son..coming in September. I have more to do but this was the first completed batch.

I was quite proud of this run. 7 miles in 61 minutes. The trail was a little to claustrophobic for me and I kept seeing people carrying large sticks but not using them as walking that scared me. I was with friends but we all have different paces and were at different parts of the train. I also ate about 5 bugs and spit out another this will probably be my first and last run at the Trinity River. 

Circus time. A sweet covenant family gave us tickets! The kids loved it!

I worked in kindergarten one Sunday at church and Ribbit was chosen to be the greedy giver in the play that week about tithing. 

Its pottery time in ART CLASS!!!!

As if he wasn't cute enough. His hair has a mind of its own!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Peach Pickin-Our favorites

Our new favorite homemade ice cream....TOASTED MARSHMALLOW!!

1-Toast marshmallows on a pan in the oven or you can do it red neck style and use a lighter to torch each one of them suckers. I'll let you decide which method I chose.

2-Put them in a pot and cover with milk. I used two bags of marshmallows and 2 cups of milk but in the end I should have used even more milk!

3-When all of the marshmallows have melted pour it into a glass bowl to go into the freezer.
 3-When its frozen ..and it freezes more like soft serve to where you can get a good scoop quite can do all kinds of things to finish it off. We poured some hershey's syrup on top and ate it in between two graham crackers like a SMORE :).

Or cover it in graham crackers and chocolate syrup!

Mommy's new favorite paint party helper. 

She was obviously thrilled to follow the step I am teaching  in the background. She really was a big help and had great behavior!

I so loved leading women through a painting. Some of them had never stepped foot inside of a church and didn't feel threatened to come in and paint..I think they had a lot fun and each one created a unique and beautiful paintings!
 Momma's new favorite running accessory-MY HELLO KITTY NECK BAND.

When I look at this picture I think to myself "Bless her heart"...this was around 5:45 in the morning, after a 5 mile run. I took this and sent it to my best friend Virg in Alabama so that she could see the neck band and make fun of it with me. I used to think that only "older and wiser" runners wore these neck bands to cool themselves off but I wore it once and was hooked. It really does work, even if all it does is lower my body temperature at the beginning of the run (which for me is always the hardest, I hit my stride in mile 2 which is normally by best pace).

My new favorite running day. DUH, Saturday. My running group starts later, at 6:30, on Saturdays and we run around
 parks. This was August 1st, last Saturday we upped it to 7 miles and ran in Arlington along a river. Today we ran 9.5 miles and included Chisholm park in our run. Our goal is to increase 3 weeks in a row and then cut back until we hit around 15 miles. We are all working on pace and endurance...the heat makes it harder...BRING ON THE FALL WEATHER!!
 My new favorite morning smoothie!! Spinach + Frozen Banana + Strawberry Mango Spark + Ice and water......YUMMY!
Goober's new favorite way to spend his birthday money!!!--FITNESS ACCESSORIES!!

He got tons of money and gift cards for his birthday and so far he has spent it all on 3 things.
1-These really cool Reebok shoes, they are both cougar and Auburn colors and they have a strap in the back that should allow for some growth!
2-A pedometer, he loves it when he hits 10,000 steps in a day like his momma :).
3-A watch with a compass and GPS.

I'm not a fan of him growing up and not spending money on toys....Don't get me wrong, I don't miss picking up lots of little toys but I'm expecting to wake up and find that he has a mustache or arm pit hair any day now!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

First day of school

Well here we are, the 6th day of school. About time I put up some pictures of it eh?
This year we have Baby Boy in PK3 and I must admit that our mornings are now at least 5x easier. He wears the same uniform as his siblings, gets the same lunch and snacks and is with all 4 of us on campus daily. He was so eager to start school too...He LOVES LEARNING, I mean soaks it up. Many of his teachers have already emailed me to confirm his love of learning, of singing, of repeating, of stories, of playing!!! He has also confirmed that he is the COVENANT BABY! I vividly remember getting the phone call for him during inservice 3.5 years ago that another baby, one who had the same mommy as my other two was in the hospital, detoxing and would be ready to come home to us soon. DID WE WANT HIM? YES!!! We had just recently turned down another little boy to adopt because we didn't feel a peace from the Lord...and that is why. Therefore, this child has grown up in front of everyone at CCA and just like us they have all been waiting for him to join his family here. His teacher has 11 years of experience with 3 year olds and is actually Ribbit's sunday school teacher at our church. HE LOVES HER!!! In fact, he loves her so much that when he had a sub yesterday he threw an every loving fit that resulted in lots of snuggle time with mommy while chowing down on pretzels...those two things seemed to have work miracles :).
Ribbit is repeating kindergarten this year and didn't show any signs of being upset about it until she was in the classroom. She has a wonderful caring teacher who I could already tell would be a great fit for Ribbit's sometimes emotional personality. She came home and told us that she was embarrassed to be the oldest but then big brother reminded her that she would be the first to drive a car. She also told us that she didn't want to get to know the people in her classroom, that she would just wait until next year when she was back with Claire again, her beloved best friend who went to Pre-1st so next year they will be back together in first grade. It was heart breaking but we knew that the Lord had given us peace about our decision. Then on Tuesday of this week I got a LOOOONNNNGGGG text message from a sweet friend of ours. She had a long conversation with Ribbit about how God had kept her back in kinder so that her own daughter would have a best friend and so that Ribbit could be a leader and helper. It put me in tears again...that another parent saw my upset daughter who was pointing at the first graders and saying how she belonged with them...that parents stopped, took time out of her day and comforted my kiddo. She didn't blow her off, she made her feel heard and important. It takes a village and I am so glad that CCA is my village!! Since then Ribbit has been cheerful each day to go see Mrs. Whitten, who she had been calling Mrs. Olsen?????
Goober is such a big kid now. He is in another NEW building and gets to walk himself to and from class every day. He has his own locker out in a hallway, he has homework on the computer, he changes class multiple times a day, he gets to take strings as a subject (thus the buying of a violin)...he gets to play sports with Covenant teams and he gets to change out for PE!!!! Watch out, a BEARD IS NEXT!!!! I get to see him a WHOLE LOT MORE. In fact we sat close in chapel the other day, not side by side heaven forbid, but two rows apart. He has done so well this year too behavior wise, already earning a merit for the first merit wear this Friday and I also received an email that he loves to volunteer to pray in class. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR CAN MAKE. Looking back, I am glad to know that his behavior was based on several things that he and our whole family went through last year. I am glad to know that it wasn't based on how he feels in his heart. He is always smiling, always ready to learn and as I have already noted he "want to stay in 5th grade for forever"!!!!!
Here our some of our first day pictures!!!!
**Disclaimer, I admit I dressed the kids up the Sunday before school started and took them up the school for some 'first day' pictures. I know how crazy the real first day of school is, especially when both of your parents work there and how crowded it is!!

Unfortunately this is the REAL first day and that is his REAL first day hair do...I may have gone overboard the night before with the argo oil...LOOK AT ALL THAT EXCITEMENT!

2nd day of school....there are BIG perks to having a Daddy who is the facilities director!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

God was showing off today.

Today was one of those days where God just showed up and showed off. In very small ways but in ways that reminded me that He cares about the details in my life, that he cares about little ole me.

My fitbit recently died and I used it to track my exercise that I can't track with my run keeper app...such as zumba, stairs and weight lifting circuits. I wrote on Facebook to ask others what they thought about different activity trackers such as FitBit, Garmin and Polar. I was reading everything I could about each tracker and went to Dick's this weekend to try them all on. I finally decided that whatever came on sale next would be the one I got because my head was spinning from all of the information I had heard. Today at lunch one of my sweet sweet art students that I have had for the last 5 years walked in with a gift bag. She handed it to me and when I read the card I teared up. It said " Mrs. Harvell, you have been "running" through my mind lately and I wanted to get you this. Inside was a FitBit Zip. She was so thoughtful and it brought tears to my eyes as I showed her that I just had sent in her college rec letter and that I wanted her to know how easy it was to go on and on about her character and love for the Lord.

Kid Zumba

Some of my Zumba buds and I showed up in matching gear one night!

More kid zumba!

Another blessing came in the form of another CCA mom speaking truth and hope into my little Ribbit. She has been down lately saying things like " I am embarrassed to be the oldest one in kindergarten". Well today at lunch she sat with one of her friends and that friends mom, who we have known for a couple of years now. Ribbit told that mom that she didn't belong in her class and she pointed over to first grade and said she belonged with them. That mom quickly told Ribbit how God had big plans for her in kindergarten and that maybe God needed her to stay in kinder one more year so that her very own daughter could have a sweet best friend. She reminded her that God needs her to be a leader or a helper and He loves her. She said after that Ribbit was attached to her hip....I BET SHE WAS. Sometimes it takes someone else to repeat what your parents have said for it to click. We need this VILLAGE of CCA to help us raise our kids and reiterate the truth over and over again.

I could have cried at any given moment today. After both of these scenarios and writing 3 college rec letters for kiddos that I sure will miss I was just praising God for showing off in our lives.

These are the kiddos of the sweet mom who spoke into Ribbit today. Ribbit was in kinder last year with Creighton, the boy and this year with his little sister, Harper!

Mr. Man is following in his momma's foot steps He used his birthday money to buy a pedometer and new running shoes!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fitness Friday-serving size

Its a miracle that I am writing a Fitness post and on a Friday...especially as this was our 2nd day back to school. School thus far has been fantastic.

Little Man can't wait to see his teacher each day and even though he has had an accident in nap time both days I think he is loving school. He is exhausted every day and when I asked him what he learned today he said " Jesus died on the cross and my teacher says say Thank You". Good life lessons.

Ribbit has told just about everyone that she is in the 'older kindergarten'...and you know if that is what she says to get through this year of repeating kindergarten then thats fine with us. She did say that she was embarrassed to be the oldest but her big brother reminded her quickly that she will be the first one in her class to drive a car...that cheered her up!

Goober LOOOVVVVEESSS 5th grade. On his first day he ran into my class after school and said " I wish 5th grade could last forever, I love my teachers and I get to do some of my HW on the computer"!!! Today he started violin lessons again...after taking lessons in 2nd grade. He was thrilled to see that a lot of his boy buds are also taking strings this year so life is good as far as he is concerned.

I HAVE AN AWESOME SCHEDULE and am free to eat lunch with all 3 of my kiddos most day..SCORE. I am volunteering to serve hot lunch for Goober's grade every Friday (something normally only stay at home moms get to do) and I have an art class first thing on Friday morning......WHAT? I have never ever taught art until noon at the earliest...I won't know what to do with students who are bright eyed and bushy tailed :).

So now onto Fitness Friday.

One of my biggest changes to my diet was SERVING SIZE. You can think in your head all day long that trail mix is healthy but little do you know that you are eating 4 servings of it in that one bag you bought at the gas station. You can tell yourself that one store bought pre made smoothie is healthy until you realize there are two servings in it and tons of unnecessary sugar.

I also heard that on Weight Watchers most fruits and veggies don't equal any points. I get the point of that with spinach/ onions/ tomatoes and other veggies that aren't too high in calories and/or sugar. BUT fruit should definitely be counted into your calories and/or points for the day. Bananas are very high calorie and berries are very high sugar.

To help measure and portion everything just right I got some tools for the kitchen. First is this measuring cup scale. You can weigh food using grams or ounces. I use this mainly for meats and or seafood. Its super quick and I throw it in the dishwasher afterwards.

Here is a sideview of the measuring cup scale I use. I also keep tons of measuring cups and spoons on hand. I have 3 different kinds of measuring cups and several tbsp and tsp measuring spoons.

I think I have said before that I have about 15-20 low calorie, tasty, high protein, good fiber, low sodium foods that I know I can count on and I cycle through those for my main meals. I do snacks a little differently using my favorite fruits or crackers and just eating smaller servings of them. For my meals though I WILL MEASURE EVERY TIME. I don't care if its the 3500 time I have had a chicken breast that month I will still measure out 4 ounces. I measure any cereal, any coconut milk, trail mixes...basically anything that doesn't come prepackaged as one serving. This has helped me learn what a healthy serving looks like and helps me to continually count my calories. 

Here is one example of logging my calories every day every measuring out food. I had exercised a ton that day..running 5 miles that morning and going to a Zumba class that night. A normal day of exercise though looks like burning around 500 cals. Anyways, you can see my dinner was very lean that day...Tofu noodles, 1/2 cup of peas and carrots and 3/4 cup of Light Alfredo sauce.
If you are worried about my low cal diet just look below it...I ate 462 in snacks ..mainly a protein bar and almonds that day..high PROTEIN AND HIGH CALORIE!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Here is a quick summary of what happened Wednesday from my Facebook post.

Yesterday I went to the ER for chest pains... It was diagnosed as severe indigestion and cartilage strain due to my workout yesterday morning. That is not what brought me to tears though. The fact that 3 teachers sat in the waiting room and prayed over me did. The fact that 5 teachers asked to take my kids for the night did. The fact that a teacher PAID for Bre's birthday dinner last night did. The fact that my entire school prayed over me during inservice did. The fact that I woke up to 23 concerned text messages and 12 emails did. God so humbly reminded me yesterday of our calling to CCA... All 5 of us will be there this year and I'm so thankful to be a part of the family and community there. Thank you CCA for being the body yesterday.

I could have written so much more but Facebook likes to limit your character numbers so that people don't write short novels. 

But, my heart won't let me be silent about what really happened that day. You see, I have been restless lately. Torn between being a stay at home mom and being a full time teacher. I have been torn about whether I really belong at Covenant...I'm not exactly the brightest crayon in the box and I am surrounded by very intelligent people who I admire and who seem to have a much higher IQ, both in the academic world and in theology. I am an art teacher who wants to dye my hair unnatural colors, pierce my nose again and wear things that have fringe, funky colors and don't always go to my kneecap... but I understand that I need to dress and look professional as an employee there. I am not always the Christian role model I need to be to all of my students....sometimes I punish instead of discipline a child...sometimes I don't love a child unconditionally. I tend to make really big messes,....and not with with relationships or with my expectations and then I have to spend hours, days and weeks repairing those. I am not so sure that the art/bible teacher they hired 5 years ago is what they are always getting.

Adam and I had been specifically praying for God to speak clearly to us about our next step of faith. And in my heart I looked for things that I could complain about at CCA hoping that it would allow me to make a decision to be a stay at home mom with little regret. I began to not like the very same things that drew me to Covenant...the classical approach, the rigorous curriculum,  the professional dress code, the ongoing personal and professional development. 

Don't hear me say that I didn't like what Covenant offered my kiddos. I knew in my heart that if the Lord allowed, Goober would finish at Covenant, he has been shown to much kindness, grace and calls of redemption to not stay there. I am still amazed at what my kiddos already know about the Lord and our desperate need for Him. I just wasn't sure that I still fit there. 


I have never in my life had that sort of pain...but from the minute I grabbed my chest during our bible department meeting I was surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ. I was held up (literally). pulled into stretch positions to ease the pain, petted, my nose was wiped, my tears were colleagues held me on the floor. My colleagues who are all under a hard deadline for the start of school STOPPED what they were doing and took care of me. My colleagues missed meetings, lunches and kiddos activities to sit in the ER and simply wait and pray while test were run. My colleague who was in the ER with her own kid who was severely dehydrated and spent 4 days in the ER, found me, came in and prayed over me. Back at the school, the Cougar Club directors were starting to put together a birthday party for my Ribbit (cue the tears) so that her birthday was still special. I had 5 friends offering to check my kids out and keep them the rest of the night. The whole school stopped and prayed over me...little did they know they were praying for my gas....geesh, now that is humbling. After I was drugged and given a prescription I was allowed to leave. For the rest of the day I was bombarded (but in a good way ) by my colleagues asking and begging me to let them help. I had colleagues stop at our house to check on me. Ribbit had requested Chick FIl A for her birthday dinner and when we walked in we were greeted with "Hi Harvells, your dinner is already paid for, what would you like to order? We know its Ribbits birthday so we have ice cream ready for you guys whenever you are done". (cue the tears). Another colleague had already gone before us and paid. 

I can vividly remember being the ER, getting blood drawn and hearing the Lord say " you have been planted in fertile soil", "you have been planted in fertile soil". Another colleague had spoken those words out loud earlier that morning and the Lord continued to repeat them to me. He began to remind me of promises he had made and fulfilled to me...

..."Go to Israel with SWBTS".....what for?
 ...."Go to Texas".....why?...."Go to Texas"
...."Adopt a sibling group""Adopt a sibling group"
...."You will have a child named Elijah"....really?
...."Say No to this baby boy that is being offered to your for adoption"....why?....."SAY NO"....2 weeks later our Baby Boy came home to us :).
...."stay planted" or in AL close to family?....."stay planted in fertile soil".

Why would I doubt Him now? Why would I look for reasons to be out of His will? Why would I test his goodness and faithfulness to us? Why would I let the DEVIL steal my joy and convince me that I don't belong somewhere?

THE BODY of Christ is the only family/group/body in which I truly know how to function. That sounds very narrow minded but I don't know how to operate outside of it. I don't know how to not offer prayer to someone who is hurting. I don't know how to not offer meals to or care for someone who is grieving. I don't know how to not LOVE people I have never met. I don't know how to stand still when worship comes on. I don't know how to keep God out of my lesson plans. I don't know how to comfort a student who has lost a parent without reminding them of the hope of Heaven, the kindnesses of the Lord, the sweetness of the reunion we will one day have. 

I don't want to function outside of the BODY. I don't want to try to fit in somewhere else. Covenant, our church home and Texas has been tended by the Lord for us, he has planted us there and until He tells us differently us we will continue to grow deep roots in THE BODY OF CHRIST. 

Here are some old and new pictures of our WONDERFUL Covenant Family!!

 Romans 12:6-8 
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

My 8th grade bible class from last year enjoying the Passover Meal.

Teachers and Students...LOVE THEM!
 Ephesians 5:29-30
for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

One of my fav students and my Big Man share a birthday!

One of my students who came as Batman for Baby Boy's birthday...and one of my besties in the background!
 1 Corinthians 12:25-26
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

We love the FELLERS. Claire and Ribbit were in kinder together and I run daily with Claire's momma!

Cougar Cheer with Mary Bryton,  who is now a part of our family! God is so good!
 1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Loving on Annie, another sweet student and daughter of one of my good friends and fellow teacher.

My sweet 7th graders holding up their mosaics last year.
 Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,

Honorary cheer leader!

We may have too much fun in art!!!
Ephesians 4:4

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Friends since 1st grade. Taking a vow of silence as monks for Reformation Day :).

I love that our teachers send us texts throughout the day so that I don't miss out on special memories.

Romans 12:4-5

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.