Monday, August 30, 2010

Reality Check

As you are all aware, school started.  Sure, for many it is a time of celebration, mom's discover that their houses aren't always the equivalent of a boxing, or MMA ring, and schedules are implemented to assist with the sanity of all.  I love the schedules - always have.  And I'm a planner, so I usually have a decent idea of what is going on for an entire week - it's just who I am.  But I'm realizing that my planning is in need of some serious tweaking.

First, there is my life.  Sure I'm teaching Jr. English and Creative Writing like I did the last two years, but this year I added Jr. Honors English to my teaching load.  I was happy to do it - still am - but I'm having an awareness that my method of prepping and teaching during the last three years is in no way going to cut it this year.

Example.  During the first two days of school, we toss aside the block schedule and have all our students come the same day.  Sure it is like when I was in high school, but because we will return to the block schedule (A Days and B Days) and because we have probably a hundred or so students who are Success students, taking classes at the college either all morning or all afternoon, the schedule couldn't be A1, A2, A3, A4 Lunch B1, B2, B3, B4; we had to do A1 A2 B1 B2 Lunch A3 A4 B3 B4.  This switch had my first two days as follows Prep, Honors, Prep, Creative Writing, Lunch, Honors, Juniors, Creative Writing, Juniors.  By the end of the first day I was a little confused and my head started spinning and by the second, I felt like the girl on Poltergeist.  I realized that I had one repeat, three VERY different classes to prep for and not nearly enough ready.

I'm pretending I have that under control for now - I'm sure there will be moments where I lose my mind throughout the year and will hopefully have a fresh Diet Coke nearby.

Feeling like I could maybe conquer the world, I then went to Will's classroom blog for our weekly update and saw this -

*Book Report: This month (Aug./Sept.) the student will be required to complete a county report. The students may not necessarily read an entire book about the county, but they will have to research information in order to complete the assignment. The students and I have gone over the requirements and they've been shown examples. I'm sending home a yellow packet that can be used as a guideline for this assignment. Have fun learning about one of the county's in Utah!!! This project is due September 24th. 

I'm in trouble because I did my county reports on Sevier and Iron county - so of course he got Cache.  (Charlotte - I may be hitting you up for some cool things...)

I knew there were reports in 4th grade, but I had no idea that it would be this soon.  I'm pretty sure that Will is going to have a paper due before my Juniors do!  And his spelling words?  Eclipse, applaud, attract, trouble, describe, snowflake, freedom, slimy, glance, burglar are a few with the bonus words being elevation and characteristics.  Again, some of my students seven years older are struggling with these words.

I have come to the realization that I'm not ready for 4th grade.   

*On the plus side, the shy, reserved semi-anxiety ridden boy that has been my son for years seems to have disappeared.  He is talking to people he doesn't even know, offering advice to people not necessarily talking to him.  I think it has been very liberating for him to go to a new school where people don't expect him to be shy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Day Pics

I'm incredibly biased, but I think these kids are about a cute as they come.
Skinny jeans were made for bodies like hers.
His sense of humor cracks me up all the time.
There is no coaching on her poses - this is all Catie.
They are growing up too fast....

Thursday, August 19, 2010


School started.  I have a ceiling.  And a roof.  If you saw the school two weeks ago, you would realize why these two things make me happy.  I even have cool air - kindof.  I'm teaching three different courses this year - two classes of each - and have 24-30 students in each.  It's going to be an adventurous year with some learning curves for me. 

My kids put on their new clothes this morning all ready for school.  Will upload pictures later, but Ellie in purple skinny jeans and Catie in jeans bedazzled with white and pink were adorable.  And you will have to wait for Will's shirt - I laughed when I bought it for him and continue to laugh every time I see it. 

Glad it's starting.  Going to miss snuggle mornings in my bed with Catie.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Heavenly Home in the making...

Several weeks ago, when I was getting ready to do my visiting teaching, I read the message and it just didn't seem to resonate with me as the exact direction I needed to take with the sisters I was visiting.  I did some research, explored some of my favorite minds, and stumbled on a speech that, when reading, I had the overwhelming impression that it was a talk that would perfectly fit with my sisters.

But more importantly, it really stuck with me.  I read it through and went immediately back to the front page and started again.  Some excerpts...

"The nearer we get to God, the more easily our spirits are touched by refined and beautiful of the purposes of our earthly probation is to become like them in every conceivable way so that we may be comfortable in the presence of heavenly parentage"

"President David O. McKay was inclined to awaken at 4:00 a.m., skim read up to two books each day, and then commence his labors at 6:00 a.m. He could quote 1,000 poems from memory. We knew that whenever he stood at the pulpit. He referred to the grand masters of literature as the “minor prophets.” He was a living embodiment of the scriptural admonition to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom"
"Dear daughters of God, you are the crown jewels of all of His creations. There has never been a sunset, symphony, or work of art as lovely as you. May you catch the vision that you are destined to be a refined and regal queen, honored by an uncountable posterity, worlds without end."

"...your Father in Heaven, has sent you away from His presence to have experiences you would not have had in your heavenly home—all in preparation for the conferral of a kingdom. He doesn’t want you to lose your vision. You are children of an exalted being. You are foreordained to preside as kings and queens. You will live in a home and environment of infinite refinement and beauty, as reflected in the language, literature, art, music, and order of heaven."

 You can find this whole talk here. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I don't want to SEE the Wizard - I want to BE the Wizard

Sometimes, in my life, I feel like one of the characters in the Wizard of Oz.  No, not the munchkins - I was taller than them by the time I saw the movie.  In elementary.

One of the things that I have always found interesting about those characters is they are parts of a whole.  Obviously their inabilities are exaggerated to make them endearing characters, but they seem to just be one thing.  I mean no one ever compliments the lion for his ability to be empathetic for a friend, or the tinman's bravery and willingness to start chopping at people who threaten his friends or the scarecrow's ability to lighten the situation with his humorous antics.  But they are all off to see the wizard with the desire to have ONE thing.  Not to be complete or whole, but because they are longing for one thing.

Sometimes, I feel like those characters.  I feel like I go through phases where I'm trying to be awesome at one thing, and then a few weeks later another and so on.  And sometimes I even feel a little crabby like the witch. So what did the wizard have that I want?

Proper perspective and sheer determination.  

So, some life-balancing goals.  

Some of you may have noticed that I put a pounds lost button on my blog.  I have lost that just by changing my diet with MyFitnessPal, but I really have 15 to go before I would be okay with my weight and some serious toning and muscle building to even really be happy after that.  I found a program called Couch to 5k (c25k) that I'm embarking on and biking on my crappy decade old mtn bike on non-running days.  But more than that, my commitment to be fit has me trying to find reasons to ride my bike more often and to more places. And this journey so far as me wanting to buy clothes that aren't primarily black anymore, being happy about the person I see in the mirror each day and beating myself up less.  All good things, right?

Obviously during the summer, I have more time (and desire...and eye power...and alertness) to read lots, but then often, during the school year, I will let that slump off a bit.  I require my Honors English kids to read 70 pages a week.  That's ten a night - surely I can fit that in.

I set time aside in my daily schedule to write and have three different ideas I'm toying around with right now, so the writer's block will not work here. And I can really find 15 minutes.  I'm trying to write 500 words a day but making sure I get the 15 minutes for now.

Because of Bountiful Baskets, we have been having fun eating at home more, but then this last week, that crapped out big time.  The kids like helping me, seeing and trying the food we get is like a weekly Christmas and when Charlotte posts yummy recipes like this, I really have no excuse, right?

I decided that it was pointless to just make goals on December 31 and then check a year later to see what happened.  The beginning of the school year seems like a good time to see what I can do to get all five elements of my life - physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and financial - more balanced.

I'm off to become the Wizard...kindof.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the most inspiring people to me.  She balances a decent amount of acreage, raises chickens, plants beautiful gardens and writes compelling books.  This year, like every August for the past two years, she is doing a program of Write Fifteen Minutes A Day.  The last two years, I declined participation, convinced I was too busy or didn't really have something to write.

That has changed this year.

My master's is done, my classroom is trashed (CHS remodel/renovation project) and I'm busy, but I've recently made a commitment to keep my sanity, which means doing things I like for me. 

Will I ever have people clamoring for my work like Ally?  
Who knows.  

Will I ever write as fast as Stephenie
Probably not. 

Will I ever have a writing cottage like Laurie? 

But I get a kick out of writing, creating characters and seeing what happens to them.

So, for the month of August I will write fifteen minutes a day.  I didn't know about it on Sunday, but I put it off yesterday and didn't get it done before I went to bed.  I was woken up three separate times by characters I've been thinking about but haven't written yet. I won't procrastinate anymore.  And I've had a few new ideas that I'm excited about.  I figure it will be good to develop the habit and gear me up for a successful year with NaNoWriMo. 

Since I know not everyone want to write, I am highly recommending you do something this month, for 15 minutes every single day, that makes you happy, may lead to some personal development and find some way for it to happen without any distractions (a girl can dream, right?)  Get husbands on board - I think most would be willing to pitch in for 15 minutes to have a happier wife. 

I would love to know what you decide...