Wednesday, June 25, 2008

All Hail the Porcelain Throne!!

Ladies and Gentlemen -

I am pleased to announce that the Seegmiller household has been accident free for a week. I'm not talking about the kinds of accidents that would make OSHA stand up and take notice. For the first time in over seven years, we are currently running a diaper free zone.


At this point, I will offer my great congratulations to my friend Kristine who just had her third baby last week, Dan and Britt for the joyous arrival of their first, and Charlotte who's bundle of joy is on her way. May you have a baby raising experience free of poop shooting across the room, ties being changed on the way out the door due to baby leakage, and leaving church 10 minutes into Sacrament meeting because you are now wearing your lovely darling's excrement that those anti-leakage diapers didn't have a prayer to hold in.
We all have to do our time, I'm just thrilled that mine is over. :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Classic or Contemporary

I have been debating for the last four or five weeks about the curriculum that I will teach next year. I have the assignment of American Literature and that is a huge topic (the only description more vague and daunting is the 12th grade English assignment of British Literature)

I have several issues that are in my mind that I want to make sure are addressed. First, I want students to be able to see the more subtle pieces of literature than cool characters and engaging plot lines, like symbols, irony, metaphors, similes, other literary devices, etc. Second, I want to make sure that I'm not requesting my students to read books that are solely directed to the boys or girls, but have equal representation. Third, I want to feel like they have some exposure to the really great literature out there. Fourth, I wan to make sure that in the process of reaching the previous three elements, I don't make them resent reading. My conundrum is finding a way to make the third and the fourth work together.

I am absolutely teaching the following -
*Hamlet (not American, I know, but very notable and, once some comprehension kicks in,very relatable to adolescents)
*Greek Mythology - again, not American, but students just don't know the imagery associated with the Greeks and they need to
*The Chosen - Chaim Potok - very excited about this one
*Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain - excited to teach this one too
*Harlem Renaissance literature - may read A Raisin in the Sun with this, will do lots of poetry, short stories, some Jazz music, etc.
*Into Thin Air - John Krakauer (will do this if we can get it ordered and sharing books schedule between me and the other English teacher worked out)

My dilemma is whether to teach a major Puritan work (The Scarlet Letter or The Crucible) or just do some of the smaller works of fiction associated with the period. I love The Scarlet Letter, think that it is beautiful, poignant and so applicable to life in many ways; however, I know from my student teaching that students get lost in it, they are frustrated by the wording and hate reading it because it's hard. I don't have a problem pushing my students a bit, but not sure if pushing through this and Hamlet would be too much. Would it be better to find a different book that is easier to understand? Would I be depriving my students of the education they can have by not teaching a Puritan major work? Seeing as students just aren't taking as many English literature courses in college, this may be the only experience for many of them with this kind of literature - but is it too great of a risk to lose my students for four weeks?

Hmmm - thoughts?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hello 30

Today's my birthday, and as many mom's will know, birthdays when kids are little and husbands work tend to be about the same as any other day with the exception of eating more sweets with the justification that it's my birthday. Today I meet 30 in the face (not yet though because I wasn't born until 4:30 pm)

There seems to be something different about hitting birthdays with 0's at the end that make a person think about 10 years before or 10 years from now. So, here are some fun things to read, ponder.

10 years ago, today
*I won the preliminary talent competition at Miss Utah for the night.
*I wasn't dating anyone.
*I had just switched my major from pre-med nursing to English education.
*I weighed 35 lbs less than I do now (that SUCKS)
*I had just finished a year of visiting every high school in a four county area promoting voter awareness.
* I thought I would be going on a mission and was hoping for Russia
* I was working as a waitress at the Pizza Factory, and perfecting my flirting skills (hey, they were important)
*I was planning on four years from then as a decent timeline to start thinking about getting married.
*Enoch was a really good friend who was on his mission in England.
*My crush was on a guy from St George who's dad owned a big law office and they were all Democrats (I still think I held my own very well during that dinner of 4 vs me - topic: POLITICS)

Ten years from Now
*Will will be going into his Senior year of high school
*Ellie with be going into her Sophomore year and learning how to drive (and DATE!!!)
*Catie will just turn 13 (that will mean three teenagers at the same time in the same house)
* We had better be living in Cedar or I may no longer continue to exist.
*I will have been a teacher at CHS for 11 years
*I will have been married for almost 19 years (that one seems really strange)
*I will have read lots and lots of books!!! YEA!!!

Ok, that's it. Anymore thinking about a short ten years from now and I may start to feel old, and I am too young to feel old. Take that Father Time. And face it, but the time I turn 40, 40 will be the new 20 because 80 will be the new 60 and so on.

So, Happy Birthday to me. Today I am Thirty.

New Moon

I've been holding off in reading this book for a while because I remembered my experience reading Twilight, which was pretty much that life outside of Forks, WA didn't exist until the book was completed. Guess what. Same result this time around. I started reading last night, and granted, I read pretty quickly, but I just finished the book today. Sure, the dishes aren't all washed, but who really cares, I have read what happens to Bella, Edward and Jacob.

Once again I was sucked into this book right from the start. I have read reviews from people who said they didn't like this one as much as the first, but I liked it as much if not more. No longer do I see Bella as an idiot who has a serious case of high school twitterpation, but I truly believe there is something deeper in her relationship with Edward. And I deeply sympathize with her predicament concerning Jacob.

I loved the twists and turns in this book, the reality of the "human" emotion, the complications and I thought that it was much better written than the first, which I loved, but this didn't have nearly as many eye-rolling cheesy moments for me as Twilight did.

Now, for the next complication - I really want to read the next one. Really. But I have 9 more books on my list before I can add it again. However, I may order it and pre-order #4 at the same time... :) I usually don't get sucked into the popular books with as much excitement, but I just can't help it. I'm looking forward to the release of this book as much as I'm looking forward to NFL pre-season, which are at about the same time. Can't wait.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My dad's 30th Father's Day

I was born on the Saturday before Father's Day in 1978 and realized earlier this week that it was my dad's 30th Father's day. I'm giving him this poem tomorrow, but since I don't think he frequents this blog, I'm posting the poem I wrote for him today.

To my dad,
on his 30th Father’s Day
It’s been 30 years since you got to celebrate your first Father’s day,
You’ve seen your fair share of recitals and games along the way.
Your first daddy day was celebrated just after Tasha’s arrival-
You were well into your crash course of infant survival.
Ran in the St George marathon, the next year held Roni in your arms
Named after a New Zealander with lots of dark hair and adorable charms.
Moved back to Parowan and built a house for your family
Not long after, Tari was born, daughter number three.
Just adjusting to Cedar and hearing “na noo na noo”
Your fourth child was born, this one a daughter too.
Cathy, being named after some of your favorite track girls
Trips to church surrounded you with lace, ribbons and curls.
Fishing at Yankee was fun, but we’d give you that look-
Smiling, you’d oblige and put the gross worm on the hook.
Just when you thought you couldn’t add any more Decker fun
A week before Christmas brought Ryan, your only son.
He was just hours old when he got his first football
Your daughters soon discovered the wonders of the mall.
Experiences that you’ve had with your kids have been many,
You’ve listened to the piano with more patience than any
With the money you spent on teaching how to throw and hit a pitch
Along with instruments, uniforms and costumes, you’d be rich!
You taught your girls to work as hard as any of the males
And learned that an orbital sander works great for filing nails-
You witnessed how a boy transformed Barbie’s into bows and arrows
Have taken countless kids and friends hiking down the Narrows
You’ve loaded up and traveled all across the state
Supporting dance, music and sports regardless of the wait
Your kids are growing up, you get the chance to be a Grandpa
Watching them struggle raising their kids with a subtle ha ha
You get to delight in watching grandkids until you get your fill
Capturing the smiles of Scott, Shelbie, Kyle, Mckenna, Catie, Ellie and Will
You are the greatest dad and Grandpa Decker too
So have a Happy Father’s Day and know that we love you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Water for Elephants

This is a book that I had seen around for a while, thought the title sounded incredibly intriguing and I finally bought it. I was hooked from the first chapter, but had to put it down to finish the Pullman trilogy, and picked it back up again Tuesday night, finished it last night. I couldn't stop reading it. I was pulled into the story of a lovely (albeit disgruntled) old man, Jacob, living in an assisted living center and just a few chapters into the book, the reader understands what is happening. As his memory is fading, the memories of when he was young become more vivid and at times the distance between what he remembers and what he is living, for him, becomes non-existant.

This book is an incredible tale of the circus life in the 1930's, depicting the struggles and the shocking conditions that the people and animals find themselves in at times during their journeys. I thought the sensory description was outstanding, the development of the characters made me love or hate them without feeling like the author was telling me why I should love or hate them. I just showed.

This is also a book which, after reading, has made me commit that regardless of what happens to me and my life, I will never put a loved one in an assisted living situation just because they are old. Jacob doesn't have any mental illnesses, doesn't have any physical conditions that make him capable of taking care of himself other than the fact that he is old. There are elements of this book that are very sad, but the ending brought a great resolution and left me very satisfied.

Side Note: there are some mature scenes involving nudity and sex and the language is that of 1930's circus workers - not throughout like a Vietnam novel, but it's there. Recommended for mature readers only.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Catie Belle

Since Will, Ellie and Enoch just got their own posts, I figured for me to be a truly diplomatic parent, showing as much equality at all times as humanly possible, I decided that Catie needed a post for herself too. Being the youngest and the one who isn't quite old enough to do all that her brother and sister do, she is in the carry along phase of her life. She is hauled to dance practices, ball practices, ball games, school registration and parent/teacher conferences and rarely moves out of her non-chalant temperment. She seems to be much happier if when I'm taking pictures of Will and Ellie doing something, she gets a picture or two taken of her too. She is adored by all, (except when she is having a 3 year old moment) and some of you my not know why she gets called Catie Belle. Her full name is Catherine Isabelle (which I still think is one of the prettiest names I've ever heard, even if when it's combined with Seegmiller is it 27 letters long) and the Isabelle is after one of Enoch's grandma's a generation or two back. That grandma was called Granny Belle, so when Catie came along, her Grandma Janet decided it was a great tradition to carry on, so we have Catie Belle. And Catie, even though I spell it with a C, gives her Grandpa Keith the perfect opportunity to be able to sing an oldie but goodie, C C C Catie (okay, it's really spelled K-K-K-Katy). The following clip is one that I found so those of you who don't know how the song goes can give it a listen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I just saw this comic and after having finished a conversation with a woman in my ward who asked me as a teacher, if I make my students read "those books, you know, that aren't totally wholesome like the Native American lit my daughter had to read in college" or if I just teach "good stories" and finishing up the Dark Materials by Pullman, I found this very fitting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Ultimate Guy

Enoch spent the last weekend playing seven total matches of Ultimate Frisbee. I know some people may not be aware of it, you can learn more about it here, but the basic idea is soccer without assigned positions and what some fondly refer to as the flat ball.

Enoch was on a pick up team consisting mainly of other guys from our ward who started playing just for fun and decided it would be fun to enter the Utah Summer Games in the inaugural year of the sport in that competition. Shortly after returning home Thursday night after his first game and watching a couple others, he realized that there were teams faster (due in a large part to the average age of the other teams) and the other teams were significantly more experienced, nevertheless they persevered.

All in all, I think the teams had a great experience, had some great plays, and are all excited at the prospect that they get the chance to play again next year. Of course, I think they are going to wait until their walk returns to something resembling normal and they don't groan each time they sit down or stand up. :)

Will's Adventures in Machine Pitch

Will just played his second and third games this week and we are realizing that he still hasn't really adjusted to the timing of hitting a moving ball - We will add this while I'm helping Ellie with her tball swing. One of the major highlights of the week though was a grounder that came straight to Will when he was playing second base. He got in front, picked up the ball and had the sense to tag the runner and beat him to the base. He got an out in machine pitch, kindof a rare thing. I was ecstatic because that was the game when he didn't get on base once, so it was one of those little things that could help maintain his confidence. Will has another game tomorrow night, I'm really hoping that some one on one time will help him get on base more consistently. Enjoy a few pics of my favorite son. :)

Ellie's Tball with Coach Daddy

Ellie is in her first year of tball and loving it. We decided to put her in the Cedar league instead of the Enoch league because we got tired of people not teaching the kids how to really play by the rules because they didn't want any kids feelings to get hurt. Kindof ridiculous if you ask me.Enoch is Ellie's coach this year, along with eleven other five year old girls. I have had several parents tell me how much they love the job Enoch is doing with their girls, trying to teach them the game and having fun and patience while doing it. Basically he's a very awesome guy that I have.

Ellie's first experiences with the bat looked like someone chopping wood, so we had to teach her how to swing with her arms out, hence the reason for her current starting stance. I'm going to work with her this week to see if we can't get her to swing in the proper position.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Amber Spyglass

This is the final installment of Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials and I found myself blown away by the imagination, the complexities of the different worlds, and the innovative ways that he added depth to his characters. I read somewhere someone called this work a modern Paradise Lost and this book was definitely that way. I could finally see where the anti-Christian ideas surrounding these books came from, but it wasn't anymore anti-Christian than what I'm sure surrounded Milton's work in the 17th century. They are taking the Christian myth of the fall and recreating it in a way that either makes more sense or they find more interesting. Similar stories have been told before, but because they don't call the characters Eve or Enoch or whatever, it isn't always quite as apparent what the allusion is to.

I enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed reading anything else in a long time. I found myself feeling satisfied that Pullman didn't end the book in the "they all lived happily ever after" tone - it does have some very bittersweet moments in it, but that makes it more "real" (as much so as a fantasy combination of worlds can be real anway) and I would have absolutely no hesitation recommending this book to readers above 13 (incidently that was the audience Pullman originally wrote for in the first place)

Just as a side note - I have spent some time on Phillip Pullman's website, reading his articles that he wrote about reading and writing in schools and his work in general. (if you are interested click here) I really liked his explanation of the works. He is not atheist, he is agnostic, and he challenges "the church" because he finds it ridiculous that people can do things that in our society we would be shocked and dismayed by, but because they say they are doing it in the name of religion, our society has given them a stamp of approval. As I mentioned before, I felt this was really aiming at the Catholic church, and really, their history of things they have done in the name of religion is less than stellar.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

O Happy Day!!!

Since the year Enoch and I got married (almost 9 years ago) I have enjoyed listening to a streaming station of Classic FM which is broadcast from the UK. I listened to it while I wrote a crazy number of papers about works by authors like TS Eliot, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Wordsworth and it helped me maintain my sanity during the semester when Enoch referred to John Milton as my boyfriend because I spent more time with him than with Enoch. The selection of music is just like I like it, never having too much of one instrumentation or period, just my bit of classical heaven.

Then, just over a year ago, apparently some legislation was passed in the UK preventing the stations from broadcasting their shows outside of the UK. I tried and tried to find a way to get that glorious sound once again permeating the occasional chaos of my home and offering serenity when I was prepping whatever at the time, but to no avail. I tried several of the other stations that broadcast classical music, but it just wasn't the same, they would have different programs. It's like when Enoch likes to mess with me and hold my hand differently than he normally does (normal is fingers interlocked with his thumb on top of mine - he torments me by putting my thumb on top) He is still holding my hand, it's still him but it's just not the same.

Then yesterday, during a period of longing, I returned to the Classic FM site and much to my joy and delight, the station is once again streaming to all nations!!! I'm so happy - I get to listen to the lovely British accents again, enjoy that perfect variety of music and the sweet serenity of the stress leaving me. I don't listen to classical music all the time, but when I have had a seriously stressful day, there nothing quite like Classic FM.

The Subtle Knife

This is book two in Phillip Pullman's Dark Trilogy and when I started reading it I was a little disappointed because it was introducing another new character with complicated plot line. I wasn't sure how good of a decision that was considering The Golden Compass already has many different characters with enough issues to fill a least one more book, however I didn't question it past the first chapter.

The way the plot deepened and twisted and developed all the complexities of these worlds created by Pullman was something I appreciated greatly. This book is the shortest in the trilogy, but the writing moves the story very quickly and very well. I have read that people didn't like this as much as The Golden Compass, but I liked it better, found myself trying to see what I could skip during the day or night to read this and upon completion immediatly started The Amber Spyglass.

If I felt confidant all science fiction could be this good, I might find myself converted to another genre in my reading. I highly recommend this book with great praise.