Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Enjoying summer!

So far, although I've been a sniffly wreck for a week, I have LOVED summer :) I could get used to this. For real.

I am enjoying:
-blueberry and strawberry season
-beach trips
-having time to clean my house
-sleeping a full 8 hours
-summertime walking
-reading books
-part-time jobs

I finally went to the doctor today, but she said it was just a bad cold. I guess I knew that, I just wanted a prescription for Tussex. Is that bad? That stuff tastes like candy, wipes away a cough, and actually lets you sleep through the night. Oh well. I just hope I am not yucky this weekend, because I'm going to the beach with the girls :) Can't wait! I made these WW friendly blueberry muffins for our trip-they are made with sour cream!

They aren't super sweet, thanks to that weird healthy eating strategy of Not Eating 4 Cups of Sugar at a time, but they are pretty good.

I love summertime :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a weird week...

So I've been holed up in my bedroom until noon everyday, only to finally get up and plop down on the couch for hours with a Coke Zero, lozenges, and Lean Pockets. I feel like a college student again.

Yes, this most recent bout with the incurable rhinovirus has left my brain a mushy mess (blame it on the acetaminophen which we only have in the PM variety). I've seen so much TV, the lines between reality and television drama are blurred at best. Last night, I even enjoyed The Real Housewives Of New Jersey, chuckling, "Oh, those Yankees aren't that bad." Perish the thought.

The hubs has been very supportive, watching reruns of Gilmore Girls and buying lots of Lean Cuisines so I don't have to cook at all. He's driven me to Target three times, making sure to stay an arms length away from me at all times. Yes, we've slept apart the past few nights, as I am quarantined on the queen bed. Despite his best efforts, he is currently sniffling and has a weird pink eye...I feel terrible.

Today, on our most recent trip to Target (I finally bought that underwear), I looked at Joel and said, "I feel like we're in a long distance relationship." The most shocking part-we walked by the chocolate aisle, and even with the shiny "price reduced" signs, I was not in the least bit tempted. Who am I?

So I called in sick to babysitting today and have to skip a rehearsal dinner for the lovely couple-Mary Kate and Jayson who are getting hitched tomorrow. I plan on driving to the wedding tomorrow. While I feel very sad to not be able to spend the weekend with the wonderful Meredith girls, I'd be a terrible guest to cough, snore, and blow my nose through the night with a bunch of other people in the room. Sexy just left.

Let's be honest. It's just a cold, but I'll take any excuse to sit on our couch for as many hours as I would have spent last week at my full-time job.

Welcome to summer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It never fails...

...that I will see a student at the most awkward times! Last year, I was buying lingerie for a friend's shower, and I saw one of my first graders and his mom. She is also a teacher, so she thought it was hilarious, but I was so embarrassed!

Today, I saw one of my sweetest students at Target when I was walking into the lingerie section with the hubs. Come on. She is shy and quiet anyway, but since she was lingering around, I just couldn't buy the underwear I needed!

Anyway, I still feel like a wreck, and I'm thankful that I didn't have to work today. Our house is a mess as the cleaner is currently out of commission. I needed to find a sub babysitter for the family I was supposed to sit for tomorrow...anyone willing?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer vacay

I am so like my dad in that we hardly ever get sick when working, but the second we reach a vacation, we get sick. So naturally, today (my first day of summer) I feel like I got hit by a bus.

Other than that, today has been pretty good. I woke up at 11 and watched Sweet Home Alabama, The Break-Up, and Far and Away. I have nowhere to be until 9am tomorrow! Feels pretty good.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Being murried.

Last night, we had Joel's grandmother (Memaw) over for dinner. She has had this amazing life-spending most of her adult life with her husband in Nigeria. She is such a pillar to me, and I love hearing her pray and listening to her stories.

We made quite a spread for dinner: chicken, broccoli, sweet corn, homemade biscuits (my specialty) and Joel's AMAZING fried green tomatoes. She seemed to really like it. After dinner, we sat down to watch CNN (Memaw is very interested in politics, and at 89 years old, she is completely all there. She has very strong opinions and is extremely influential in her church and home.) As the conversation was wrapping up and Joel and I were getting ready to take her back to her retirement home, she said, "You know, today is my wedding anniversary. 61 years."

We stopped in our tracks. We had no idea. Lloyd Neil, her husband, passed away a few years back. It makes me so sad that I never got to meet him, because the stories Joel's family tells us of him are amazing. He was so loved by everyone, and Memaw still speaks of him as the most amazing man she ever met. She spoke of how they met (she was 14!) and the wonderful impact he had on the Nigerians he lived with and his own family.

I am so thankful for Memaw (and Pepaw) because of the rich legacy they have passed on to their family. Although I am a newcomer to Joel's family, I am so blessed by their work around the world and the loving family they raised.

I am so thankful for the gift the Lord has made of marriage. It is such a beautiful expression of the Father's love, and seeing the blessing that can be passed on through a loving relationship to multiple generations is amazing.

As we are about a month and a half short of our first anniversary, it seems like this year has flown by. We have had to face some challenges this year, but I know we will face many more in the years to come. I have fallen so much more in love with the hubs. I am able to see more now how our differences really complement each other. He's so my best friend...and I'm excited to spend a summer with him!

Monday, June 15, 2009


If you didn't notice my drastic haircut I got this weekend scroll down to see it!

The hubs see my new hair. He is definitely a fan of long hair, and while 3 years ago I used to have this long, flowing hair that he loved, I think something in my hair changed because I have never been able to get it back to that. So I decided, for summer, to chop it all off. I think he's warming up to it, although he did think I looked like Hillary Clinton in a ball cap.

(I had to agree. We laughed. The State hat is going in the closet for a while...)
Last night he looked at me finally and said, "I like your haircut!"

Thanks, babe. :)

Anyway, we had a really good weekend. We met up with the young adults/singles/under 30s group downtown on Saturday night, and we had a blast. We ate great Mexican food (I stayed within my points) and I'm really glad we found a group that is in a similar stage as we are. On Sunday, I got to have great time with Sarala, who I am mentoring for confirmation. We are reading Case for Christ together, and while I've read the book before it is really helpful to strengthen my foundation.

My brother helped me go shopping for a going-to-a-wedding dress for next weekend. He is in the army, strong as an ox, and likes really attractive girls, but the boy can shop. He is always dressed in the finest, so it seemed fitting for me to call him up to help me shop. We did find a super cute safari-type dress at JCrew but it was a little (lot) out of my price range. And not really wedding appropriate. C'est la vie.

Joel and I met back up to go to small group (super fun) and it was one of those times when I could clearly see the Lord working in my life. I had just become very overwhelmed about answering some deep spiritual questions for a couple of people in my life. I felt impatient, like I wanted to spell it all out for them in one meeting. I also felt really inept, like I didn't have the most concise, clear answers for their questions.
So in small group, we talked about getting to know Jesus, and how the first disciples had just a little bit of faith and Jesus gave them just bits and pieces about Himself at a time. We realized that even towards the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, the disciples still didn't know everything about Him. They still had questions and misunderstandings. I know the Lord was speaking to me and my heart was set at ease. He'll reveal Himself to them, and my job is just to walk with them, day by day, and allow Him to speak through me. What a good word.

Currently, it's 9:20. I planned on being at work an hour ago. I still have to do ALL of my cumulative folders. But it's summer, and there's no rush. I woke up late, kissed the hubs who will still sleep until who knows when, and enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee.

Bueno, que tengas un lindo dia. (As mi papa would say!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stick a fork in me...I'm done.

Last day of school...I was definitely not as sad as I thought I'd be. I gave them journals and candy and hugs, but I was really ready for the end.

This afternoon, I felt completely drained. It was like I had nothing left to give.

I sat on my couch for a while. We went to Joel's parents' house for dinner and his mom gave me an old copy of The Sun and a Target gift card for trip supplies. I ate yummy falaffel and a bite of baklava. It was a good way to end the year.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I am thankful for...

Girls night, driving home at 10:15 (too late for a workday)-beautiful moonlight-coming home to my husband who is making fried green tomatoes. It spells like Spain. I think it's the olive oil and the night air. 2 more days of school. Turkey-you're a month away!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday thoughts

-I woke up with two thoughts in my head this morning:
1) The creepy urban legends Joel and I were trading last night. I'm WAY sensitive about scary movies, stories, etc. but for some reason we started telling them. Joel was very good and didn't try to scare me at home (which would have been extremely easy). I just have a crazy imagination. Well, we woke up and the sound was on on our TV...creeptastic. We figured the power surged but it was still really spooky.
2) Praying that I have joy next year about going to school. This one is still consuming my thoughts today, so here goes:

As I look back on the year, I can't help but end with extremely mixed emotions.
I feel like there are some things I did well. I sought a lot of advice and assistance (maybe too much). I took initiative in some aspects of teaching. I do feel like I taught my kids to look at the greater world through reading lots of books and often using GoogleEarth. We talked about misconceptions and stereotypes often. I think I did show them how to think about other cultures and desire to learn more about them. We also spent a lot of time discussing bullying and how to defend victims.
I gave choices in my class and made it clear to students that their behavior dictates the activities we do in class. Sometimes I'd even give two choices: 1) Using math manipulatives, playing games, using technology to explore different things, etc. or 2) worksheets, textbooks, etc. If a student kept messing around, I would take away whatever engaging thing we were working on and give a boring worksheet.
I had a really interesting class with some high achievers, independent thinkers, and yes, some class clowns. I do thank the Lord for the privilege of teaching them. I also had some fabulous parents in the room.

However, there are so many things I want to change about next year. I regret a lot of ways I dealt with behavior at the beginning of the year. I overreacted a lot and underestimated the behavior issues I'd have. I want to have more calm conversations with my students and less power struggles. I want to be able to prioritize issues better.
I want to be far more organized and better planned. I want to differentiate my instruction a lot more as I think it would have helped some of the behavior issues I had in my room. I want to leave more at school and take less home. I want to change my classroom set-up. I want to give many more choices and hold students more responsbible for their behavior. I feel like I wasn't as "with-it" this year as I needed to be, and I did get walked all over at times. I want to have better communication with parents and document things more. I want to amp up my reading instruction and have more assessment guided instruction.
I want to be less forgetful, more intentional, and take more initiative. I want to integrate objectives in order to give more meaningful and richer instruction. I want to use technology more but teach how to use it responsibly so it's not a pain in my neck.

But more than anything, I want to receive the Fruits of the Spirit daily, I want to show the Lord's love and mercy and kindness to everyone around me. As I look back on the year, I see so many ways in which I have fallen short of that. I doubt I really was a loving teacher and coworker this year.

I am humbled as I look back and thankful for the Lord's kindness in letting me have another year to teach these students. I know that I cannot be the perfect teacher, but I do know that I tried this year. I know that I grew as a person and professional and I am very thankful that the Lord hasn't given up on me yet.

In other news: exactly one month until we leave for Istanbul!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

End of year survey

I decided to take another teacher's idea and ask my kids to write some answers to these questions:
1) What was your favorite activity this year?
2) What advice or warning would you give to next year's third graders?
3) What was your least favorite activity this year?
4) What do you think you learned this year?

Here are some of the responses to the advice/warning question:

-Don't be afraid of the EOGs because if you take your time it is easy. Enjoy what you can and listen really well!!!
-I would tell the new third graders not to freak out on tests. (This was written by a student with text anxiety).
-I would say that you will learn a lot and that you are going to act like you went to Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd you can't be lazy on anything you have to work very hard and then after all that you go to EOGs but dont wory you can do it.
-Get ready to have quizzes all the time.
-There are EOGs but they are not too hard. If you listen all year you will do fine. If you do not pay attention you may not do too well. But they should be stuff you know. Do your best on them. -Try hard.
-My advice is Don't talk back to the teachers because you will go to the office if you do.
-Don't have an attitude or talk back to the teacher or you will get in trouble. Trust me. I know. (She sure does!)
-Do not act up!!!
-Have a good time while in third grade.

I am thankful for the endearing answers. They remind me that they're just a bunch of kids. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that.