Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 6-Your day....

These are the postings that I find to be recapping what I did or ate.  I'm sure that you don't find these interesting either!  When I think of "a" day that sticks out as memorable, I think of the things that we all do...the day we graduated from high school or college, the day we got married, the day that our children were born, etc.  As I'm sure that you all know those special days, either because I've posted about them or told you about them, let me take the time to tell you about my first day as an educator!  Get ready, hold on tight....this is going to be an adventure!!!

Let me give you the background first.  When I was in college, I worked at Bath and Body Works on a part time basis.  When I graduated from college, I opted to go into management with them.  I will never forget that as a manager, back then, I was making $27,500.  I was fresh out of college and thought that I was balling!  I worked there for about 8 years and then got recruited to a clothing retailer for one year.  Once I had my second son, I quit!  I wanted, needed and desired a quality of life.  I took about a $30,000 pay cut to be a teacher, but I've never looked back once!  Eventually you get to the point that having a quality of life and making a difference to someone other than yourself is worth more than the money.  I went into substitute teaching prior to securing a full time job as a science teacher.  Substitute teaching was interesting.  I got to choose the days that I worked along with the hours.  I could work half days if I wanted, close to my house, far from the house...whatever I wanted!  I subbed for about 3 weeks.  And then it happened.....I got hired to be a the middle of September.....of 2004!

I walked into my science lab to teach Environmental Science to 3 different classes of 32 students each.  Each class was 90 minutes long as the school was on block schedule.  I had one 90 minute planning period.  The first day of class, I walked in, and the students were...what I called at the time..."off the chain."  I couldn't blame them though.  They had had different subs in their class for about a month and a half and didn't believe that I was their real teacher.  They didn't trust me and here I came trying to teach them after they had been pretty much chilling for almost 2 months!  They didn't want to learn.  They didn't want to take notes.  They didn't want to do anything except raise their hands and ask, "Can I go to the bathroom?"  I had lunch duty, after school bus duty, a faculty meeting after school, etc.  I got all the way to 4th period and had a student, a male, that walked in about 30 minutes late singing an Usher song at the top of his lungs. "My oh, my oh, my oh, my boooooo."  If you know like I know it's a very catchy song which means the entire class joined in on singing his song.  Then end of the day was close and I just kept thinking..."I think I can."

I spent that afternoon calling all of my parents to introduce myself as their child's new teacher.  When I got home I was sooooo tired and exhausted.  My voice was almost gone from telling the kids to sit down, get back on task, etc.  It got easier and easier as the year progressed.  I have never regretted going into education.  I know that I have made a positive impact on hundreds of kids.  I have seen several of my students graduate and go on to become college graduates.  Some of them have gotten married and several of them have children.  They are productive members of society.  They still call me and find me on facebook to fill me in on how they are doing.  I have had students to tell me that they are majoring in the sciences just because of my class.  I have had to attend the funeral of one of my students.  I have written to one of them in jail.  I have attended the funerals of some of their mothers.  I have taken several of them out to dinner/lunch.  They have babysat my children.  We have gone ice skating together.....I could go on and on.

I have always been that educator that realizes that my smile and my hello to them may be the only one that they get that day.  I have taken the time to get to know my students and understand their lives.  This makes a huge difference because you learn what they are up against.  When they come to school to eat breakfast and lunch because they know that's the only meal that they will eat that day, who am I to fuss at them because they don't have a pen and a piece of paper to take notes in my class?  Instead of fussing at them, I began to purchase pens and paper to have available for them to use.  I learned to pick my battles.

I can't say that I was the best teacher in the world...but I know that I made a difference.  I can say that without a shadow of a doubt....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 5-Your definition of love...


I must admit that I am a hopeless romantic.  I used to believe that when I received my first kiss that soft music would be playing in the background and the area around me would be filled with clouds and fireworks were going to go off, angels were going to be flying around us, etc.  Obviously that is not the case!  BUT in my head, that's how I believed it would be!  Love is a beautiful thing....Even deeper and beyond love is the word like.  I heard Michelle Obama once tell Oprah that she actually "liked" Barack.  That really got me really have to "like" the person that you are in "love" with.  To me this explains why so many people stay married until the kids leave the house for college and then get divorced.  The whole time that you are married, you are living through the kids....then when they leave, you realize that you don't actually "like" each other...that's deep!!!!

When I think about love, I am all about the little things....
  • Holding hands.
  • His hand on the small of my back when we walk through a door.
  • Him walking on the side of the street where the traffic is.
  • Kisses on the cheek and forehead for no reason at all.
  • Text messages throughout the day....just because.
  • Taking a day off of work together just to be in each other's presence.
  • Going out of your way to make each other smile.
  • A hand written card or note.
  • Him cooking me dinner.
  • Him having a picture of me on his desk at work.
  • Him looking into my eyes and smiling...just because.
  • Going to get my favorite coffee without me asking.
  • Taking a walk.
  • A picnic in the park.
Material items are nice, but they don't, nor have they ever moved or made my world.  I would much rather him put thought into something that costs no money.  So when asked for a definition of love...I simply think it's when you put the happiness, needs and desires of someone else's heart before your own...because you LIKE them.  This makes sense in my mind...not sure if it's being put into this blog in a way that makes sense.  

Again, I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and took the time to pay it forward, sharing your love and your "like" with someone other than yourself!  Life is good....and I'm glad about it.

Day 4-What I ate today...

So, this blog should have been done yesterday...guess that means I'll just be doing 2 today.  This, I must admit is probably going to be pretty boring.  I'm sure you don't really want to know what I ate yesterday but that's what it calls for so here goes!

Breakfast was a cup of coffee with caramel macchiato creamer.

Lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich and some kettle chips.

Dinner was a double cheeseburger meal from McDonalds with a coke.  I added Big Mac sauce to the double cheeseburger.  Mmmm......

That's what I ate.  I know it was not healthy at all but with all of the running around I was doing yesterday, that's the best I could do!

For Christmas dinner today I will be cooking dinner.  As a matter of fact it's 1:12pm and I'm almost done!  I made some spinach dip to snack on throughout the day.  For dinner we will be having:

  • smoked turkey breast (from Honey Baked Ham...I don't cook turkey!)
  • collard greens
  • macaroni and cheese
  • rice
  • black eyed peas
  • sweet potatoes
  • rolls
  • roasted brussel sprouts
  • roasted carrots 
  • red velvet cake (from Picadilly)
  • warm apple pie (Mrs. Smiths)
  • white pie (it's a no bake cheese cake that we make every Christmas)
I am so excited to finally sit down and eat!  The one thing that I wish I had in addition to all of this is this stuffing that my mom makes with sage and apples.  It's sooooo good!!!!  BUT, since she's not here and I'm not there, this won't be happening this year!  Guess she and my brothers will enjoy it for me in California!

I hope that everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!  Remember the reason that we are celebrating today and hug everyone a little bit tighter!  There are people out there with no one to celebrate with.  I KNOW that I am blessed...abundantly!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 3-Your parents....

To my blog readers....allow me to introduce you to my mother....Mrs. Denise Brown.  She has been my mom and dad since I was 14 years old.  She is AMAZING!

Lets see....she was born and grew up in England, which is where I was born.  She has successfully raised myself, my twin brother and my younger brother to be adults that have been allowed to follow our dreams and raise our families.  She has never told us that we couldn't do anything.  I was talking to a friend of mine the other day that is a single mother and she was asking me if growing up, did I ever "want" for anything.  I thought about it and the answer was NOT AT ALL.  Looking back on it....I don't know how my mom did it but she did.  We never wanted for anything!!!!  I was a cheerleader in high school and that was about $1200.00 a year.  She never told me that I couldn't do it.  I don't know how she paid for it but she did!  My twin and I both went to prom, got our yearbooks, I got my letterman's jacket and my class ring.  Christmas was always full of gifts.  Graduation was wonderful as were birthdays.  We had cell phones back then!  My twin brother and I got a car for our 16th birthday, an '89 Hyundai Excel!  When we graduated from college, she was there.  When I gave birth to my children, she was there.  Growing up, our house was the "safe" house.  All of our friends were always allowed over.  On our 16th birthday my twin and I came home and announced that we had invited some friends over for pizza and cake without her knowledge of course.  Somehow that night we had pizza and cake for about 20 friends!  She is that mother that knew ALL and I mean ALL of our friends, and they knew her.  They affectionately call her "Ms. Brown" and they know that Ms. Brown don't play!!!  She would not only tell us about ourselves, but our friends as well!  I remember the Canyon Springs football team toilet papering my house one night before a football game and she thought it was the funniest thing ever!  I had to clean it up though!  We've been through earthquakes together....lot's of em!  I can't say enough about her!

Let her tell it...growing up in England she walked to school in the snow, uphill both ways.  She only got one pair of new shoes a year and that was on Easter.  She used to put all of her Easter chocolates in her empty shoebox and eat them.  Her mother, my Nanny, is white from England and her father, my grandfather was black and Jamaican.  She has never questioned her background, but rather embraced who she was.

My mother is the strongest woman that I know.  As I raise my kids I often think about what she would do.  I often find myself saying things to my kids and in my house that she used to say:

  • "Take your shoes off the table"
  • "Turn the water off in the shower, you're wasting MY water."
  • "What goes around comes around."
  • "Don't hate or wish bad upon people...God will take care of may not be today or tomorrow or when you want it to....but it will get taken care of."
I could go on and on about this phenomenal woman...she is my rock.  I call her when I need to laugh or cry or vent and she is ALWAYS there.  I just hate that she lives so darn far away!!!!  If I can be half of the woman and mother that she is when I grow up, it would be a great thing.....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 2-My first love....

So...this song by Avant, called "My first love" was what came to mind when I started to think about what I would blog for this.  As I type, I still really don't know what to or who to type about!  :)  I would never write about my "first love" because....well....let's just say that that was a definite "learning opportunity!"  My mom was right from the first time that she met him!  LOL!  

I believe it would be fitting to blog about my sons.  Not that they are my "first loves," but they are my heart.

Let's start with my oldest son, Elijah....I remember when I found out that I was pregnant with him.  I was a junior in college, living 3,000 miles from home with no family around except my twin brother.  I was living in the dorm on my college campus....what in THE world was I going to do.  I remember having to make that phone call was by far the hardest thing that I ever had to do.  I felt like I had let my mother down.  I had to make that phone call of Good Friday and every year to this day she calls me on that day and asks if I have anything to tell her.....uhhhh NOT!  Pregnancy was beautiful.  Labor and delivery was 24 hours and 8 minutes....When Elijah was born he was not a matter of fact, he was blue.  I was 21 and had no idea what was going on.  The nurses and some special team of people brought him back with the use of oxygen boxes and other tools and at last I heard him cry for the first time.  What a relief.  The first time I got to hold him really brought it all into perspective.  My life was forever changed.  He is my miracle baby.  He made a strong entrance into the world and continues to be a strong force.  I am so proud of the young man that he is turning into as he finds himself.  It has finally dawned on me that I have 3 1/2 years left with him until he leaves to go to college.  I don't think that I'm ready for this!  He is 14...I remember when I was was NOT that long ago!!!!!  He applies himself to everything he does.  He has HUGE dreams of playing football and attending the University of Florida..GO GATORS!  I swear he needs to be a lawyer.  He can argue his way out of anything...except with my husband and I!  When I look at him I am speechless and in awe....God definitely blessed me with an angel!

Then there's Jacob.  He's 7 and he is such a hoot!  I often ask him...."where did you come from?"  He just laughs.  He is soooo silly!  Pregnancy was a little different with him.  I got put on bed rest at about 6 months and had to stop working.  Labor and delivery on the other hand were absolutely beautiful!  It was like something on television. My hair was done, I had lipgloss was quiet and I smiled through the whole thing!  His process only took about 12 hours.  Much much easier!!!!  He is my dare devil child...he's willing to try anything at least once.  We've been to the emergency room with him way more than Elijah!  He has a HUGE personality and makes friends where ever he goes.  I don't know that he's as stuck on going to UF but Elijah and Melvin try to brain wash him!  He has played baseball, football and basketball.  I believe that he is going to be my basketball player.  He loves it!  He doesn't allow the fact that Elijah is bigger or older than him be an excuse not to compete.  He will hang with Elijah until he can't hang anymore.  They play together all of the time!  He loves the outdoors, playing outdoors, bugs, lizards, etc.  He wants everything to be his "pet."  He is my baby boy! Another true blessing from God.

These two boys are my loves...They make my heart smile each and every day.  As you all know, I am a science buff.  I think about the fact that one sperm and one egg had to come together to make each of my boys unique.  That is amazing to me!  Any other combination and they would be two totally different kids!  I am grateful for them and treasure each moment that I am able to spend with them.  Parenting isn't easy by any means.  I know that I have been chosen and trusted by God to be their mother and I take that seriously.  I know that I am hard on them, especially Elijah, but it's because I love them!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 1-Introduce yourself!

Greetings on Day One!!!!

My name is Natasha already knew that!  I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, educator and life long learner.  I consider myself to be a very diverse person in that I've lived in three different countries, listen to all types of music, and come from several different backgrounds!  Long story but if you know me, you know I come from a little bit of everywhere!  I guess the best way to "introduce myself" is to make a list of things about here goes!  Enjoy.....

  1. I attended a historical black college.
  2. I am a California girl to the heart.
  3. I love Hello Kitty!
  4. My favorite color is pink!
  5. I LOVE the Los Angeles questions asked!  
  6. Tiffany and Company is my weakness!
  7. I love people and am definitely a people person!  This explains why I worked in retail for so long and then became an educator!
  8. The person that I admire the most in this world is my mother, Denise Brown.  She was my mother and my father and raised myself, my twin brother and younger brother.  I'd say she did a darn good job as well!
  9. I don't tell them as much as I should, but my brothers are excellent role models for my sons.
  10. I would have to say that my husband, Melvin, is by far THE best father that ever walked the face of the earth!!!!!!!
  11. I love making people smile.
  12. Money doesn't make my world go round...feeling appreciated does.
  13. I believe that becoming a teacher/educator is my calling.
  14. I don't like seafood....not allergic...just don't like it.
  15. My favorite movie EVER is "The Sound of Music" starring Julie Andrews followed by "Love Jones."
  16. I will be the first person in my family to earn a doctorate degree.  This makes me smile.
  17. I believe that small things mean more than anything else.
  18. I value my friendships...especially the ones in which we may not talk every day, or month, but when we do, we can pick up right where we left off.
  19. One of the most soothing sounds in the world is the sound of the ocean waves crashing onto the shore.
  20. Places I would love to travel: Africa, Australia, Italy, France, and England (again).
  21. I love waking my kids up in the morning and hearing, "Good morning, Mom."
  22. I love hard.....
  23. I don't have regrets.  I consider these to be learning opportunities!
  24. I suffer from migraine headaches...not a good thing!
  25. I was married with a child at the age of 21!!!!!
  26. I have a strong faith in God.  I don't go to church as much as I should, but I know that He is the reason that I am here and the reason that I have all of the Blessings that I have.
  27. I have an obsessive compulsive disorder!  For example...if I accidentally hit my right knee on something, I have to hit the left one on purpose so I can feel balanced.  Weird I know....
  28. My glass is half all times!
  29. I don't believe that people have weaknesses....I believe that people have areas of opportunity.
  30. As much as I want to jump on the iphone bandwagon (and not saying that I won't one day), I LOVE my Blackberry!
  31. Education is the key to unlocking the future.
  32. Reading is something that I am extremely passionate about.  It can take you to a whole other world and allows for an escape.  I instill this in my children!  I long for the day where I can do more leisure reading and less "school" reading!
  33. I believe that ALL children can learn!!!!!!
My brothers and my sons!

So there you go!  I hope that you enjoyed and perhaps even learned a little something about me that you didn't already know.


I know...I know...I've been MIA for a while now! I have a solution!


Okay, so I have been MAJORLY missing in action from my blog.  I feel bad.  The one year anniversary of me blogging is approaching and I have to admit that I am kind of disappointed in myself for not doing it as much as I would have liked.  It's hard to be a full time educator, mother of two, wife, and full time student!  :)  I have a solution to this problem that I hope will get me back on track.  I actually got the idea from my friend, Tiffany that is planning on doing the same thing.  Although this solution may not always be linked to my educational and professional learning thoughts, I feel as though it will get me in the groove of blogging more.  I plan to weave my passion for education and professional learning into the predecided topics as much as possible.  Either way, you will get to know me a little better through these posts.  

This is a 30 day challenge.  I will go ahead and say it now....this will probably take me more than 30 days BUT at least I will get it done!  Below are the topics that have been listed and predetermined by the challenge.  I will begin this process tomorrow and hope to keep it up!  If there is a topic that I don't feel like blogging about, I will acknowledge that and then proceed to talk about something else!  Hey...It's my blog, I can do that if I want!  :)

Day 01- Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – What you ate today
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your day
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A moment
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – What you wore today
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – This week
Day 14 – What you wore today
Day 15 – Your dreams
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favorite memory
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – This month
Day 21 – Another moment
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – A first
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your aspirations
Day 30 – One last moment

So, with all of this being shared....sit back and hold on's going to be a LONG 30 days.... or longer!!!!