Thursday, December 13, 2007


this week has been full of goodness. :)
and, when goodness abounds, you just have to share it and spread it around.

here are some goodies...
*enjoying season four of gilmore girls - including swoons, laughs and repeat viewings of my favorite moments/scenes :)
*talking to matt on the phone - it's worth the $3/minute (yay for expense reports) :)
*spending the past weekend with my sister - and reaffirming that she is so neat and i am so blessed to not just be her friend but her family, too
*singing at the top of my lungs and jumping up and down like a teenager at the jimmy eat world show last weekend
*baking my mom's festive and delicious chocolate mint cookies
*thinking fondly of my family and getting excited to see them soon for christmas
*watching one of my favorite kiddos from last year break-dance in the holiday show (random, i know)
*congratulating the break-dancing wonder and his cute and modest reaction
*wearing cute work outfits - shallow, i know - but looking okay makes me feel okay :)
*spending some rare social time with co-workers (at yummy macaroni grill)
*getting to know a co-worker better - maybe he and his wife will be our friends? :)
*listening to holiday tunes on
*practicing the 'reindeer pokey' for the holiday show
*laughing along with my kiddos when they put their 'tail' in and out - too funny!
*making blankies for our family members - 1/2 down, 5 1/2 to go (i will finish!)
*administering a state test to my kiddos and finding that they're learning (!!!!!)

i hope this week ends on a high note for you all. :)
happy friday, friends.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


life is...full.
full of mostly wonderful things. :)
and a few bummer things. :(
everything going on in this full life of ours could (and should) be it's own post. but lack of time/motivation/words means they will instead be lumped together, into what i will call a mega-post. here goes nothing...

wonderful thing #1: things within the four walls of my classroom are great. the students are just swell. they are bright, sweet, eager, inquisitive, hilarious. sure...i have moments/days when i wonder why i subject myself to six-year-olds. but then...there are the days (more often than not) when it's all worthwhile. i'm definitely enjoying this second time around and look forward to the months to come with my super cheetahs. :)

wonderful thing #2: my sister kaitlin is coming tomorrow to spend a few days with lonely lil' me (more on that in bummer #1). she going to come by my school and hang out with the kiddos and i. and then, she is accompanying me to a concert in the 'big city' where i can see a few of my favorite bands. my mom and pop are super-duper generous and asked if we wanted to stay in the city for the night and sprung for a hotel. i'm super excited to spend more time with her and enjoy some city wandering, shopping and whatever else we feel like.

wonderful thing #3: we are 99.9% done with our holiday shopping. it's kind of nice to have (almost) everything purchased and ready to be packaged/put together. i am making cozy fleece blankets for family members, so i have yards and yards of fabric to cut, snip and tie. easy to do..i just need to do it. :) here are some samples of the fleece-y goodness i'll be working with.

wonderful thing #4: i have been extremely lucky lately - in the give-away sense. at a new teacher event, i won a drawing for a basket of holiday, classroom and edible goodies. it was just a little something...but exciting. motivated by my brief lucky streak, i left a comment on this blog to win an apron she was generously giving away. and...lo and behold...i was the lucky winner and am now the very proud owner of this darling apron:

i even used it tonight to make some delicious cranberry-orange pinwheel sugar cookies. yum, yum, yum. i love cookies...especially when they are mixed and baked while wearing cute clothing protection.

wonderful thing #5: it's starting to kind of feel like something resembling winter -- and i am loving every second of it. i know it bums out some people...but cool, overcast days with a chill in the air energize me.

bummer thing #1: matt is working in south korea again. he's gone until december 21st - but will be back in time for christmas. then, he's off to korea again to finish their project on the 27th of december. it's not fun having him gone...but, on the bright side, his company offered some 'cash an prizes' for those who have to go. basically, the company will pay for us to go on a trip wherever we want, whenever we want. i think it will be an okay trade-off, especially since we're looking in to heading to europe. :)

bummer #2: while my classroom is a positive environment, the climate at my school is growing increasingly negative. in short, teachers in my district don't have a contract for this year and are trying to increase the salary scale and improve the benefits packages. negotiation meetings have been unsuccessful and unproductive - due to 'error' on both sides. with all of this going on, there have been rumblings of striking amongst teaching staff district-wide.
during conversations on this topic, i shared that i would not strike. i am not alone in my desire to continue working. since i (and a few others) have indicated our intentions, things between strike-supporters and non-strike-supporters have been awkward and just plain petty. another teacher in my grade-level has criticized me in front of our grade-level team and, in the last few days, has practically stopped speaking to me directly because of how strongly she feels about supporting the decisions of the union. while i respect and understand her point of view, i do not respect or understand how my personal opinion gives her the right to treat me the way she is. being the people-pleasing, emotion-prone person i am, this has been hard for me to handle but i'm trying to stay positive and not let it get to me (i'll let you know when that finally happens). :)
i realize that i should probably care more about the decisions and negotiations of the union and the district. however, at this point in my career, i am just happy to have a consistent and well-paying job (for teaching, at least), supportive colleagues (most of the time) and a pretty neat group of students to mold and motivate. :) my hope is that this matter is settled soon - either with a set contract or a definite strike - so things can go back to how they were.
***long and rambling soapbox moment for those who care: i got in to teaching because i want to support children, plain and simple. the students in my district come from families with incomplete educations, limited options and the challenge of adjusting to life in the united states. i feel honored to be in a position where i can help these students to recognize alternative options and motivate them (even at age 6) to dream big and work hard for whatever they want in life. my students are my primary concern and i will do what i need to do in order to support them and help them learn. if that means working with students after school (without the promise of $$$ compensation), so be it. if that means staying late to prepare materials and plan a little bit extra, so be it. if i were to strike, i feel that i would be depriving my students of opportunities to learn. sure, they could hear the information from a substitute, but i feel that my presence in the classroom is beneficial to them and that the ways that i structure and plan things can help them achieve success. my focus is my students. and sometimes, i recognize that i sometimes put their needs above my own (which i need to work on) - but i feel like what i do matters and i want to do it the best i can and put in my best effort. okay...end of soapboxing rant.***

okay...that tuckered me out.
i am off to bed to rest up for another busy day with my kiddos.
i'm hoping for the kind of day that can build on the wonderful things.
with all the fun coming up...i think my chances are pretty good.