Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Linky!

So I decided to join this linky,  and I, like always, am a day behind - but I am going to write about Downtime because Fitness... well I don't want to write about it today.   It seems it is always the focus of my resolutions and well... a place I have failed the past several years,  so I am hoping focusing on something else helps with the fitness goals instead of the other way around.  Does that make any sense?  

Downtime is not something I am all that familiar with.   I am not completely sure if my life is more busy at school or more busy at home with my four kids.   After school is often more chaotic than classtime.  My two older boys are in baseball - which has ALREADY started for the spring.   Their schedules pretty much have us somewhere different EVERY day (including Saturday and Sunday).   Grant keeps busy with Miracle League,  and he is just a LOT of work (plus never sleeps), and Edy is two - so into everything all the time.   Sometimes our life is so crazy, I forget to stop and enjoy the blessings right in front of me.   Max is a TEENAGER now and that has hit me like a ton of bricks.   He is growing up so fast,  and I want to enjoy every minute with him,  because before we know it, he will be off to college (already can cry about that).

So this year,  I want to leave school earlier,  spend more afternoons in the park,  playing with my kids in the sunshine.   I want to spend more time reading with them,  more time playing with my little girl in her dollhouse.... more time listening to what my big boys are interested in.  More time being goofy,  volunteering at church etc.

We want to spend more time taking small trips with the kids.  We are hoping to surprise the kids with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend sometime this winter.   We have only been there once, but it was so much fun.   We are also planning a trip out to California this summer to visit my brother and go to see the new Cars Park at Disneyland.  We have never been there,  so we are so excited about that. 
I want to spend more time hanging out with my sweet husband, Jay.   More date nights, and more time with just the two of us.   Life gets so busy,  sometimes it seems I don't even know what is going on with him,  we are so busy driving the kids around, making meals,  cleaning, with homework etc.   I want to make sure I take time to focus on him. This is a picture of us from 1992! LOL!
 Him being goofy this year.
So mainly,  I want to spend more of my downtime doing planned activities and fun things with the people I love the most, instead of just getting things done.   I would also like to spend more time cooking things we really like instead of picking food up or eating what is fast and easy. 
I would also like to spend some time doing some of the hundreds of things I have pinned on pinterest - even if they suck,  I want to try!  God help us all!
Happy New Year Loves!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our last school day of 2012 and party!

I was absolutely exhausted when I came home on Friday.   It was a half day,  but still... a major butt whooping.  

The major problem is that I have a serious denial issue.   I am in complete denial that I am not crafty.   I see things on Pinterest and very sincerely believe that I can do them - with ease even.   But y'all,  I can't.   I really can't.   I decided to make clipboards for my class for Christmas.   I usually do Scholastic books and it is never a big hit,  but it works,  but this year,  I decided I was going to make something really great.  My kids are constantly hoarding my classroom clipboards in their desks, and are very possessive of them,  so I thought I would make them each a personalized clipboard.  Easy right?  Perhaps for most...not so much for me.

I bought a truckload of Modge Podge, some scrapbook paper and a bunch of clipboards from Wal-Mart. I even begged our fantabulous receptionist Vanessa to Cricut cut all the letters for their initials and she DID IT!  I love her.  It was all working out really well and I was ahead of the game... but somehow it all still worked out that my entire kitchen, my clothes,  my blowdryer (don't ask) and our floor was covered in Modge Podge and superfine glitter...and I was up hating life at 2 am the night before our Christmas party.   I was concurrently baking for my kids teachers and Jay's clients.   Total mess.   Next year,  I will be buying books again.   But I did get them done and they turned out okay - kind of lumpy... but done.  I cleaned up and was ready to sleep.   Unfortunately,  my seven year old son Grant (who has special needs) woke up decided it was time to party.  About 3:30 finally gave up.

A couple hours later,  I loaded the boards up (some still kind of sticky) along with boxes of cookies and homemade candy,  my gigantic electric griddle, spatula, pancake toppings and my giant school bag, one of my sons and my daughter and headed to school.   After three trips into the building we were ready.   I passed them out, and  the kids liked them.  Not as much as they would have liked a real toy or something,  but as much as any kid ever really likes any teacher gift. 

Here they are...

After morning meeting and announcements we met up in the gym and  had a Texas snowball fight in the gym.   Our PTA president started this years ago,  and it is always so much fun!  We all wore PJ's that day so we were slipping and sliding all over the place. 

Then we had a whole school sing-a-long in the cafeteria - which was sweet and funny. Then we had a pancake party in our room.  Here are some of their creations.

I was super duper happy to send them home early after then consumed this much sugar.   So happy for the long break!   I have some units I am working on and am happy to have some time to devote to them.   I hope y'all had a great last school day of 2012! 

  My thoughts and prayers are with those families and teachers in Connecticut  who I am sure had a much different day Friday.  I am still just in shock over the whole thing.   I am praying that 2013 brings the end to all the school violence.   

Much Love,
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Should we be packin'?

A stapler, pencils, Sharpies and a Glock on your back to school list?  Sounds ridiculous right?

But now,  in the aftermath of the horrid events at Sandy Hook,  discussion is popping up everywhere about guns,  who should be carrying one,  who should not.   I live in Texas.   I am pretty sure on election day they don't even count the votes here,  they just call it in for the Republicans.   People here believe in their right to carry a gun (not all of them - but I guessing more than don't). And many are calling for teachers to start packing. Not in my district, but in the state in general. THIS. SCARES. THE. CRAP. OUT.OF. ME. 

But a very small part of me is starting to wonder if this might be a real option.  Which even as my fingers type sounds CRAZY - I have never even TOUCHED a gun (and I never want to honestly).   Gun shops are offering discounts to teachers willing to be trained, and one tiny district here already brags about their teachers carrying guns.  But where could it possibly be kept safely?  Would it be possible to store a gun securely enough and still be accessible to get in time for protection? I can't imagine being in a room of children with a gun in the room.   OMGoodness.   But then again,  last week I couldn't imagine anyone being in a room with gun and a bunch of little kids and SHOOTING them...

I wish I knew the answer.  Teachers are first responders in a school tragedy, and I wish their was a way to defend the children in our charge and ourselves from crazy,  but this?    I hate the whole thought of all of it.  ALL of it! What do you think?  I can't believe these things are even thoughts that have to thought.

And while I am broaching the subject of CRAZY... why would anyone ever need a semi-automatic gun if they weren't in the military or police force?  Is there ANYTHING good that can come of that? 

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Monday, December 17, 2012

I guess we have to just go on...

I hardly feel like writing.   I feel like I am sick, like I am completely exhausted, achy and flu-ish,   but honestly,  I am thinking I might just be feeling the incredible sickening weight of the entire Sandy Hook tragedy wrapped around me like a disgusting soaked blanket.   I have spent so much time crying over the weekend,  I just feel worn out and old.   

This summer, as we excitedly prepared to start another school year,  safety drills were part of the routine, just like always.  We discussed what to do if there was a shooter in the building.   We came up with scenarios and what ifs...  We didn't exactly have a solution for every  possible scenario,  but we reasoned that this kind of thing wasn't going to happen in an elementary school.  But here we are.  And it is scary.   You can't stop crazy.  It is hard to wrap your mind around.   My babies came in today and I did my best to reassure them that they are safe,  but I'm not exactly sure that is true,  so it was hard.    I think we are as prepared as well as possible,  but that still might not be enough. It is so hard to know that even sacrificing my own life for them might not be enough.

I do have an incredible pride for our profession after this incident. Teachers do what they have to do anytime this happens.   I have never heard a story of a teacher freaking out and leaving her class.   In every single school shooting incident tragedy,  teachers have jumped in to do whatever they could to keep the precious children in their care safe.  That is incredible.  I am proud to be a part of this group of heroes.  I pray for the souls of those amazing individuals who gave up everything to protect "their" children.   Makes me just want to cry all day.

But as children teach us daily,  we have to go on.   We have to plan for the "what ifs".   Then we have to pray.   Then we just have to go on.   So today we went on. 

My class has  been using the incredible Catch Me If You Can Gingerbread Unit by Linda Kamp.  I am absolutely in love with it.   My whole team is working on Gingerbread People in some form or another,  so it was a fun choice for our school wide door decorating contest.   We each chose a different Gingerbread story for our door.   My teammate right next door did The Gingerbread Girl and I did The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett.   My other teammates are doing The Gingerbread Pirates,  The Jalepeno Man, and The Gingerbread Cowboy.   Jill and I are pretty much done.  This is what our classes came up with.

I think they are pretty cute.   I will post more pictures when my teammates finish up.
I am so excited for the break in just a few days.   I think we need it more than ever this year.   Our administrators have been spoiling us this year!  We are doing the 12 days of Christmas and it has been so much fun.   We have had a hot chocolate bar,  days we have been allowed to leave early,  our duty covered so we could take a 1.5 hour lunch as a team,  they brought in a fire pit and made us smores in the yard,  treats, lunches, and a FULL WEEK of jeans everyday!  Tomorrow our assistant principal is making us a huge breakfast.   I love my administrators.   I am so thankful to work at my school, with my team and with the entire staff.   I can't imagine a better place to work.  I am a lucky girl.   But I am still really, really ready for a couple of weeks of just doing what we want.
Over the weekend I finished a book study I have been working on for a while - Owl Moon.   I love this beautiful book so much,  I have been really worried about doing it justice.  I hope that I have.  Please go check it out!  If you would be willing to give me some feedback and agree to pin it... I would be happy to email you a free copy - just leave me a comment below.

God Bless each you as you get through the days ahead! 

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Heart sick and broken...

Praying so hard for the precious souls that have left us, the families of all the victims, the other children who have been forever changed by what occurred today,  and my sisters and brothers in education who are all hurting so much.....

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 in 12

So today was 12/12/12.   I had some things planned to do today to celebrate this momentous date.   Did I do them?  Not one stinkin' one.  I completely got to school and forgot about it even being 12/12/12.  I mean it,  I never thought about it once until I got home and looked at facebook.   This kind of thing has been happening to me kind of a lot -which might be alarming if I actually had time to think about it.

Today was library day.   Thank the Lord.  I love library day. My kids LOVE library day.  Our librarian rocks and doesn't care if we stay,  so I got a few things done.   We are having a door decorating contest at school,  which I might have very enthusiastically insisted on.... and now I have run out of steam and just want to skip it,  but I will not.   My whole class is working on it,  which sounds fun,  but it's really, really not.   I have 2000 paper candies (some tiny and some HUGE) on my back table.... it's freaking awful awesome.  It will eventually be a Gingerbread Baby house (each of my teammies is doing a different Gingerbread story),  probably some time after the Christmas break...

I found this super cute Linky Party - so I decided to join in. 

12 favorite things of 2012!

12. Favorite movie you watched: Pitch Perfect.   I loved this movie,  like I went to the movies twice to see it, and I will be buying it next week when it comes out.   Just made me smile.  I love movies like that.
11. Favorite TV series:  I love Grey's Anatomy, I never miss it.   But lately I have LOVED New Girl.  I laugh until I get sick.  It is really kind of silly,  but I love it so much.
10. Favorite restaurant:  Probably Cheesecake Factory or Best Thai.  We don't go out that much with four kids.  
9. Favorite new thing you tried: Selling things on TpT.   I really enjoy making things.   I wish I had more time to do it.
8. Favorite gift you got: Spa Day at Woodhouse Day Spa.  It was the perfect day... PERFECT.
7. Favorite thing you pinned:The recipe for Christmas Crack.   It has come in very handy.  Everyone likes it, and it has become my new "go to" recipe to bring to events I have to bring things to.
6. Favorite blog post:  I have not been blogging for very long so,  I don't have that many to choose from- probably the This Makes Me So Sad post.   I was intrigued that it brought a few teacher haters. But I liked writing the Teacher Reality Show one the best. 
5. Best accomplishment of the year: Happy kids,  my own and my kids at school. 
4. Favorite picture: Okay,  I could NOT choose just one.  So I am posting 3.   The first one is my grandma celebrating her 90th birthday.   She is not really drinking this,  but she thought this picture would be hilarious! She loves taking crazy pictures.    She went gambling for her 90th birthday.  I love her so much. 
 The next picture is my amazing son Grant carrying the torch at his first Special Olympics in May.   He makes us so proud.  My fabulous friend Kim took this picture, because Jay and I were literally WEEPING in the stands.
And this one is Grant giving his sister a kiss on the front porch.   He loves her so much and she thinks he hung the moon.   I hope they are always this close.   Our two oldest sons have always been close,  so having a little sibling has been so awesome for Grant.  One of the scariest things about raising a special needs kiddo is wondering what will happen when we are gone.  We are so blessed to know that Grant will have 3 amazing siblings.
3. Favorite memory of 2012: Hmmmm... this one is hard.   Probably Grant carrying the torch, or our summer vacation to Michigan, or our day at Cedar Point with our two oldest boys... we have had a really good year!
2. Goal for 2013:  My classroom goal is to start focusing on Project Based Learning.   The idea is so exciting for me (yes, I am a total geek),   but hard to put into practice with a gazillion tests and grades to get in!   My personal goals are to be a more patient mom, and lose a lot of weight... like four babies worth. But I am getting too old to keep putting it off.  So that. 
1. One Little Word: LOVE.   I want to give love, show love and be love.   When people look in my eyes I want them to see Jesus in my heart.  I know,  it sounds cheesy,  but that is what I want. 
Happy 12/12/12!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Changing seats tomorrow!

Break is so close,  and things are getting so LOUD.   I don't mind a loud classroom as long as it is productive noise,  but right now... it is not so productive.  So tomorrow is seat change day.   Any great arrangement ideas???  What is your favorite seating arrangement?

What is the noise level usually like in your room?  I have always been comfortable with some organized chaos,  and talking.  This year is my first year in a digital classroom.   Each of my students has their own netbook computer to use all day.   It rocks.   We are able to do SOOO much and my kids are taking so much ownership of their own learning.   But,  I sort of assumed it would be a quieter room. I sort of envisioned them sitting with headphones learning silently.   I was SOOO WRONG.  It seems so much louder this year.   They find something interesting and start telling everyone! "Look at this picture!", "I found her house", "Check out".  Which is .... well great... right?   It is just sometimes hard to get used to.   They really do get so pumped up about what we are learning.   Last week we were talking about Amelia Earhart.  I gave them the task of googling her,  and blogging 3 or 4 interesting facts about her.   Next thing I know,  they are (intelligently) debating whether or not she really died in a crash,  or if she ran away.   Then I had a group over on our world map rug pointing out where they think she would have crashed (mapping out her route and where she was last heard from) and another group is shouting out that even if she didn't crash,  by now she would be almost a hundred years old (they did the math!),  so she is probably dead either way.  It was Ahhh-mazing to watch.  But SO LOUD.   I guess I still have some of my own school day expectations in me.   So how loud is okay?   What is your opinion on this???  I think I worry about what others think too much too.   We have closed rooms - we don't disturb others.  But I worry about all the observations.   I need to just get over it.   But still.... I worry.  Am I alone in this??

Tomorrow we are starting the amazing Catch Me If You Can gingerbread unit by Linda Kamp.   I am so excited to get started.  I feel like it is going to be loud.   Hoping I can just embrace the chaos! 

Hope you all have an amazing week!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Awesome Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway I am so excited! The AWESOME folks at Classroom Friendly Supplies have generously donated this FABULOUS pencil sharpener for my giveaway! Please check out their page! If your current classroom pencil sharpener is anything like mine, it sounds a little like a prop plane taking off.. this fabulous sharpener would be a tremendous blessing on those OMGoodness, my head is going to explode days! Good Luck!
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jumping Words and a Linky!

Christmas break is so close it is palpable.   My kids were really,  really freaking nuts excited today.  We sent home our request note for our "winter party",  so they we were all pretty sure it was going to happen at some time TODAY.   Oh my goodness.  And tomorrow is my evaluation for the year.  Hmmm...  I think I could use some prayers. 

This week we are working on my Auntie Claus Unit.   If you don't know this book,  you need to get it!  It is favorite of my own children as well as my kids at school.  It is so sweet.   Today we worked on context clues.   I have really incredible readers in my class this year.   They are reading pretty big books, and sometimes are coming across words they are unfamiliar with,  so we did a little lesson on skipping the word that is giving you trouble and then deciding what it means from the context.   Since second graders are very concrete still,  we used this little piece of my unit to work on them.   I printed out sentences with words that I didn't think they would be familiar with - frigid, spatula, and stethoscope.   Each word had it's own page.   I laid the sentences out on the floor and students came up and read them.  As they read a word, they stepped on it.  When they got to a word that was unfamiliar they physically skipped over it - then I asked the other students what the word meant.   They got it.   It was a beautiful thing.  

When we were finished we did the context clues activity in my Auntie Claus unit.   You can find it here.
I found this adorable Linky Party tonight.  So I thought I would link up.   I love jumping around and reading everyone's posts. 
I think this is about second grade.   It is safe to say my parents were not big scrapbookers,  and our pictures are all jumbled in a gigantic box without dates.  So this is my best guess at second.   
and this is me now..Okay, maybe not yet,  but that is how I feel today.   That is actually me dressed up for the 100th day of school one year (we all dressed up like 100 year old women).  
I really have almost no pictures of me (except dressed up in very odd costumes),  I hate having my picture taken. (like I will wrestle the camera from you). So I have this shiny one,  and that will have to do.  I don't think I am usually this greasy looking,  but perhaps I am.  
Click on the link above to join in the fun!
Happy Hoppin'!

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