Monday, December 01, 2008

i'm alive... :)

despite the lack of activity on this blog, i am alive and well. :)
each day/week/month since my last post has been similar, which can present a struggle to write about the happenings of day-to-day life. there hasn't been much excitement...but it's been a good thing. in addition, i have been lucky enough to have my husband home for the last 2 1/2 months - which means i spend a little less time on the computer. but he left this morning for another three weeks in this blog might be getting some more attention. :)

my students are doing well. they're in this awesome stage where, suddenly, all the words around them start to make sense and they try to read everything. folks, we are days away from some of them exploding as little readers - and it warms my heart. in a given day, they can make me laugh, drive me nuts and beg me to make the school day longer (or shorter...depending on their mood).
even though we just got back from thanksgiving break, we're all well aware that christmas break is not too far away. a paper chain has been made to help quiet their desire to discuss santa and christmas presents 24/7 and we're about to begin rehearsals for the musical awesomeness that is the 'reindeer pokey'. all that said - first graders are fun. :)

matt and i are making some baby steps with the house we bought. we've decided that the cracks in the plaster walls have gotten the best of us and will always be there - so now we're ready to make amends with our walls and just cover the imperfections with some much-needed color and decor. after five-ish months, it's coming together and starting to look like a place where people live. and, someday soon, we think we'll actually be ready to have people over. after we buy some furniture for people to sit on, of course...:)

besides work and house, things have been good. our thanksgiving was spent with matt's extended family in texas. we were able to see everyone in his family over the course of our stay and enjoyed the opportunity to see people, wear short sleeves in november and experience some true texas 'cuisine' (specifically, bbq and mexican). it was nice to get out of town for a couple days...but i feel like i need a second little vacation to recover from my first little vacation. however, work beckons and i will have to settle for going to bed early. :)

for the three to five people who read this blog on occasion, i will try to keep it more updated and current. i know there have been times in the last few months when blog inspiration has struck...but then i never find the time to write it out. i will do my darnedest to further entertain/update you and, at the same time, chronicle the day-to-day stuff for myself.

happy week friends. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


every august, i have lofty goals for the coming school year.
i tell myself, my husband, my teacher friends and just about anyone else who will listen that i intend to leave at a 'reasonable hour' every day.
and, somewhere deep down, i actually believe i can do it.
then, reality sets in.
and my goal becomes wishful thinking.
the initial goal to leave my classroom at 5 is a distant memory as i try to really leave by 6 or 7.
and when matt is away in korea, it gets even worse and i let myself stay later - justifying that there's always stuff to do in b-07 and it's better than being home alone.

with all that said...if i don't start leaving earlier i just may go a little crazy. i'm realizing that staying at school til 7 or 8 is too much for me (duh!). eating dinner late is no help in my quest to maintain a healthy diet. getting home late = going to bed late = tired/cranky mrs. roberts in the morning. i've started to notice that when i don't give myself time to relax and just be - i'm not 'ready' to be there for my kiddos.
all the planning/copying/grading/organizing in the world means nothing if i'm not alert and mentally ready to be there for my learning lions all day.

i'm sure this is basic stuff to most people.
but it's harder for me to come by and i want it to be true in my life.
as much as i love my job, my students and my classroom - there needs to be more to me and who i am.
being at school for 10-12 hours a day will leave no room for other things - and the thought of that makes me sad.
so...i'm going to try to make the effort.
to make some time for me.
to try new things with all my new-found free time. :)
to spend time with the people i want to love most.
to do things around my house.
to enjoy my job...but also my life.

this fall, i'm setting a new goal.
the new goal will not be a specific time - because i know that there will be 'those days' that i need to stay late.
the new goal for this coming season (and the school year to come) is to seek and find balance in life.
wish me luck, friends. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

after being told by some loved ones that my last post was a major downer (sorry 'lamaro'), i figured i'd lighten the mood at 'golly gee' with a brief update on the last month. :)
we've been in the house for almost two months and it's starting to look like a place where actual people live. :) i think i'll be able to say this for awhile...but we're still working on the house. it'll probably be a never-ending cycle of renovation, repair and beautification.
despite the work to be done, we're enjoying our humble little abode and are loving the freedom to dream big...and wait until we have the money to follow through. i'll try to upload some of the pictures off my camera and post them soon.
school started at the end of august.
honestly, the first two weeks were really rough and i was having some serious concerns about the year to come. i've been told that i should never compare one class to another - so i'm working on that this year. last year, i had a great experience with my 'super cheetahs'...and i'm hopeful that this year with the 'learning lions' will be a positive experience, too.
one struggle is the fact that 75% of my students are at a level 1 and 2 in their english ability, which means they are still developing their vocabulary and skills of the english language. this can mean that i ask a question and am faced with a deafening silence and many blank stares. at first i was a little frustrated (not the best reaction)...and now i'm aware of their struggles and am trying to work with them at their level. it's growing me as a teacher and helping me to be more patient and creative with this group. they are a sweet and helpful bunch of kiddos and i'm eager to see where this year takes us. :)
besides the house and the job, life has been swell. we've been lucky enough to have plenty of quality time with great friends and our families - it's nice to be close enough to see the people we love often. we're also going to start helping with the junior high youth group at our church.
they made an announcement a few weeks sounded like a good idea...we inquired...we signed up...i hope that it is a good fit. :)
i think it'll be fun to interact with older kids, have some fun and help them to learn more about Christ at the same time. i just hope they like me...funny how junior high insecurity never goes away, even though i'm a full-fledged 'grown-up'.
ideally, my posts will be more frequent. realistically, i will be lame and post once a month. i know some blogs i read have done a 'picture-a-day' format...maybe that can be in the cards for october? i do love all things related to fall. if anyone wants to do that, let me know - maybe we can do it together and maybe it'll keep me accountable. :)
i'm off to staple practice books for my students to read tomorrow (darn me and my procrastination) and then go to bed to ready myself for another day with these kiddos. :)
happy week friends.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


it's been awhile since i signed in to blogger.
so, this post could be about any one of the many things that have occupied my time in the last months - our trip abroad, our new house, what i've been up to all summer, the coming school year, etc.
sure, all of that stuff is swirling around in my mind somewhere..but my mind is currently caught up in thoughts of how blessed i am and how thankful i should be for it all.
a little backstory...
we bought a house in a cute and older neighborhood in east sj. (fyi: this house and all of the fun/drama associated with it will be another post...someday). in this cute and old neighborhood, there are many cute and old people. they've welcomed us with open arms and, to be honest, seem pretty excited to have some younger folks on the block.
one of the people we have met in our short month here is our next-door neighbor, phil. phil has lived in this house for many (30+?) years. two years ago, he lost his wife. most times that we see phil - whether it be watering the lawn, taking down the garbage bins or just locking up before we head out - he offers to help us out, if we need it, and mentions that he is usually at home, alone, especially since he lost his wife. it breaks my heart to hear the sadness in his voice every time.
tonight, as i ventured out to the front yard to turn on our sprinklers, i came across phil, tending to the grass seedlings he planted a few days ago. we started talking about grass (kind of one-sided, since i know nothing of grass...but i'm open to learning) and the work i've been doing in the house.
as i turned to go back inside, he asked me to wait - he wanted to show me a picture of his wife. since it was getting dark on our street, i offered to come to his porch but, being the kind old man he is, he invited me inside - you know, because of the bugs. the inside reminded me of my grandparents house...well, probably every grandparents house. collections and knick-knacks and photographs and memories...all neatly laid out on every possible surface. he took me around his living room, kitchen and sitting room - showing me pictures of his late wife, his children, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. as we walked and admired the pictures, he told me that his wife was always the one who kept the house in order - who updated the pictures in the frames, who did the decorating, who put things in their place - and he was trying to keep it just how she would have liked it. phil walked me to the door and, again, offered to help - if i needed it. i told him we'd come by again...and have him over, once things were a little more put together.
as i closed the door and walked across the grass to my own yard, i couldn't help but think about what he had said, how he wanted to keep it just as she has kept it. it was a thought that brought mixed emotions - happiness that he was surrounded by so many memories of his life with her, but also sadness that no number of objects/photographs/things-in-their-correct-place could replace the hole left by losing someone you love.
as i write this, my eyes are welling up a little bit (sorry...the tears come easy), just as they did when i walked across the grass to my house. visiting with phil did break my heart a little bit...but it also gives me cause to reflect on how blessed my life is and how i should be thankful for all i have. while i get upset about 'losing' my husband to three week business trips, there is always the promise of him coming home to me again. my struggle with 'losing' matt to samsung-korea is only temporary and visiting with my new friend, who has permanently lost the one he loves, has given me some much needed perspective on how fortunate i am to know that our separation is not for long.
this was probably a little too long-winded. oh well, i guess that's just me. but the point i hoped to make is this - it's good to be reminded of how blessed i really am. sad to say...i forget sometimes and end up in the land of 'poor me'. i'm a lucky girl who is so fortunate to have a loving (albeit sometimes overly-travelled ;)) husband, wonderful family, incredible friends and, now, supportive neighbors. :)
happy week, friends. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

me mosaic. :)

saw this mosaic idea on many other blogger pages and felt i should jump in.
i'm hoping that maybe this will get me back into a {fairly} regular blogging habit. :)
here's how you can do it, too.
type your answer to each of the questions below into a flickr search, using only the first page, choose your favorite image, copy and paste each of the url’s into the mosaic maker.
the questions:
1. what is your first name? (jill)
2. what is your favorite food? (white least for summertime)
3. what high school did you attend? (rocklin)
4. what is your favorite color? (orange)
5. who is your celebrity crush? (john jim, that is)
6. favorite drink? (margaritas)
7. dream vacation? (greece)
8. favorite dessert? (funfetti cake)
9. what do you want to be when you grow up? (teacher)
10. what do you love most in life? (my lord and savior)
11. one word to describe you. (fun - according to my sweet husband)
12. your flickr name. (jimaro)
here are the links to the photos in my mosaic above:
1. happy birthday to jill's junk
2. white nectarines
3. rocklin 3244
4. crayola store display #1
5. john krasinski
6. margaritas
7. dreaming of santorini - appropriate, eh? :)
8. unmarketable products - odd name, but yum yum yum!
9. teacher
10. risen
11. fish lips and a pair of silly glasses
12. no picture on flickr called here is one of lil' old me from my flickr stream. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


hi all.

life is bizeeeee! (i've been hanging out with 1st graders too long - but seriously, phonetic spelling is way more fun!)
to sum up:
*school ended - i was glad to be done, but i will definitely miss these kiddos. they were a special and very bright bunch of scholars. they deserve a blog...just not today.
*i got roped into teaching summer school for a week. i got a bunch of kids from other teachers...and i was given absolutely no guidance about what they need help with besides 'reading, writing and math'. pretty much means...EVERYTHING! anyways, i'm doing what i can and hoping it helps. my 'end of school' celebration is being delayed a bit - but it's coming. :)
*we bought a house in the bay area. crazy, huh? i kind of feel like i'm almost a grown up. the house is cute, old, has a beautiful tree and has an awesome orange vinyl bench in the kitchen. is awesome. we 'close escrow' in one week. (still not quite sure what it means...but i know we get a key)
*matt has to travel again for work. the upside - he's going to belgium. the even higher-upside, i get to tag along! we're excited to explore belgium a bit...and then make some trips to some surrounding countries. plans are still up in the air, but it's a 90% company-funded trip to it's all good. :)
*i get to see some of my favorite people soon. a friend's wedding this weekend will reunite me with some of my favorite people (and some former roomies) from college. and hil returns (yippee!) - so i get to see some of my oldest and dearest for a date in berkeley.
good things abound. i'm doing my best to embrace all of this goodness...but it's a little difficult to not be overwhelmed. luckily, i am halfway through this week of summer school and will be with matt gallivanting around europe with my hubs in a week.
i can't complain. :)

happy mid-week to you all. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008


friends, i am currently in the midst of a challenge.
this challenge has been with me since january.
this challenge was unexpected and, to be honest, unwelcomed.
this challenge has made me question my ability to teach and forced me to examine my patience and love towards others.

this challenge is a six-year-old girl.

as i type and re-read that, i feel like i should just turn in my teaching credential because i don't like feeling this way towards a child. as a teacher, isn't it my job to educate, nurture, support, build up and motivate every young person that enters my door? my challenge lies in the fact that i want to throw up my hands and move on in each of those areas. i want to give up on educating, nurturing, supporting, building up and motivating this one young person.

and that makes me feel a little sick in my stomach.
but it's how i feel.
and i'm having trouble reconciling these two competing trains of thought.


i suppose i should back-up a little bit to fill you in. in december of this school year, my principal came to me and mentioned a situation with a colleague of mine and a student in her class (this is the student). the mother was unhappy with my colleague for a variety of reasons and requested a transfer. at the time, i had an opening in my class and i was informed that, come january, this student would be a part of my class.
i'd heard a lot about this student from my colleague and, sadly, was expecting the worst based on her horror stories. i decided, over the winter vacation, to put aside what i'd heard and i would try be the best darn teacher this girl ever had. i would support her and do all the things my colleague neglected to do.
january rolled around and this student joined my class. as with any new student(s), the first days and weeks are good...everyone is still feeling each other out and we're all on our best behavior (teachers, included). and in those idealized early days, i made the effort to be whatever this child needed. i supported, made modifications and 'cut her some slack' because she was new to life in b-07.
that was in january.
in the last five (!) months, i have not kept my promise to myself and this student. i have let myself fall into a pattern of indifference, frustration and negative feedback. i have allowed the behavior of one child affect the way i interact with the rest of my students and change the dynamics we had from september to december.


at this point in the year, with four short weeks to go, i have been reflecting on this past year, specifically in regards to my teaching and interacting with my students.
this reflection was initiated by a comment made in passing by my husband.
a few days ago, during one of our long-distance phone conversations where i was 'discussing' (also known as: complaining) about my day, he mentioned that my attitude towards teaching had changed since she came into b-07. he recalled early in the year when i was excited about the possibilities of these little scholars and all of the growth we would make during this first grade year.
after we hung up, i sat for awhile and considered what he said. i agreed with everything he said but i was, and still am, caught up in how to make it better. admitting defeat and throwing up my hands is not what i'm about - i am a planner, a finisher, a nagger - and i keep going until something is done.
with this student, i feel like i am still trying to break ground and get the ball rolling. academically, she is unmotivated, cannot complete work independently, and needs constant reminders to stay on task. socially, she is used to being babied, bullies other students and does not respect my authority.
this child has been tested for learning difficulties and, based on the numerous tests and reports from our school psychologist and resource teacher, did not qualify for any additional services. this child is capable of reading - but won't participate. this child does not listen during lessons and then misses problems on tests. this child is so capable...but doesn't use all of the skills and resources she has available to her.
it literally makes me want to bang my head on a wall or kidney-shaped table.

here comes the point in this rambling where i appeal to you, blog friends. this post would be super depressing if i just left it with all these negative feelings and defeatist attitudes. my question for you is this:
how can you motivate a seemingly unmotivated child to want to learn?

it's a big question, i know. and it is one i have been wrestling with for the last few months. i don't know of all your experiences, but maybe some of you know about children like this. maybe you have worked with a child like this, or a sibling of yours was a child like this or maybe even you were a child like this? :)

this young girl is being 'passed on' to second grade for some incredibly stupid reasons that are completely out of my control. and, as long as she is a super cheetah in my class, i feel like i need to do whatever i can. but my bag of tricks is just about empty.

thanks to you who read this long-winded ramble. and extra thanks to those who can offer a word of advice or something.

happy monday/week to you all. i am off to bed to prepare for another busy, but hopefully less challenging, day with my little scholars. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008


it's been quiet here at 'golly gee'.
i wish i had a good reason.
maybe it's because my school blocks blogger (boo!).
maybe it's because matt's been gone a lot and i throw myself a pity party.
maybe it's because we've had a lot of potential options on our plate.
maybe it's because i'm currently copping out and using twitter.
maybe it's because...who knows?

what i do know is that i miss this community.
this sharing about my life with friends (and even some strangers).
this opportunity to connect when i'm on my own.
this place to vent...when the need arises. ;)

in my 'usual style', here is a list of things going on in my/our world:
*we were going to move to boise, then it fell through and now we are in the process of buying a house in ca(crazy!!!)
*speaking of houses (none of which we own) - home depot of now our new bff...i'm scared to think of how much time we will spend there once we are actually homeowners
*matt's gone...again - basically, it kind of sucks but i'm trying to keep a positive perspective by focusing on the free hotel points and lots of air miles - now we just need to be in the same country long enough to goon vacation :)
*23 days left of school - i'm both excited for summer and sad to see this group of kiddos off to second grade
*attempting to validate and put my subscription to shape magazine to good use...still a work in progress but this exercise thing is getting a little easier

with matt gone, i should utilize this opportunity to hoard our one surviving computer and keep this blog relevant and updated. i should use this quiet and 'solo' time to reflect and think and write down whatever pops into my mind.

perhaps this is wishful thinking...but i'm motivated to try. :)

happy monday to you all.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


when matt's away, i tend to be even more of a workaholic than i normally am.
the way i see it - i could stay in my classroom and get more things done, or go home, veg and be alone. sure...some days require a good amount of vegging. but, in my opinion, my work is never done - there is always something to be done in good old b-07.
spending so much time there 'after hours' gives me time to reflect on my days and chuckle at how cute/crazy/frustrating my kiddos can be. since it is my home away from home, i figured i'd share some pictures of my super cheetahs.

here is a picture of our little learning environment. i am a geek and i love being able to decorate my room with the brightest colors i can find. shopping for new borders, colored paper and fun posters makes me happy. it's official - i am meant to be a teacher. :) being surrounded by so much color keeps me awake and cheery...even on those gloomy and cloudy days. how can you not smile looking at all of those beautiful colors? :)

also...we met sharkie (see below)! i signed my class up for a reading program that asks teachers to send in the number of books their class read in a given month. in january, my cheetahs were one of the top ten classes in our area. their reward was a visit from sharkie, the mascot for the san jose sharks. here's a summary of his visit: two girls were crying and hiding behind me because they were afraid of him and sharkie got all of the kids riled up (not good for a monday morning!!!). oh yeah - and he stood on a chair, jumped over the desks and pounded on the door for a good 2 minutes. these are major no-no's in b-07, so sharkie's visit did give me an opportunity to review the rules (and how our visitor broke them). anyways, in all of the tears and craziness, we were only able to get one picture of us with our special guest. so, while it was fun to recognize the students for their awesome reading, i don't know if sharkie will be back for a return visit. (yes...he is eating my head.)

last, but certainly not least, i wanted to share something that was given to me on valentine's day - something that made me smile and attempt to muffle a laugh. a very sweet and thoughtful student made me a book all about love, which she read to me after school. i could not see each page, so i was listening as she told me all about the wonders of love. this page (below) caught me off guard.

for those of you who can't make it out, that says: 'this is makeing love'. as i placed my valentine's day gifts in a bag, i heard these words coming from the mouth of a six year old and i just had to laugh. yes, i know, i am a bad person with a dirty mind - but at the time, it was hilarious. i think i was able to let her finish and say thank you as she left for the day - and then i immediately had to document these words of love and the making of love.
happy weekend to you all. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

excuses, excuses

greetings friends and fellow bloggers.
are you ready for the laundry list of excuses as to why i have not even looked at my blog in the last 2+ months?
well...i don't even know where to begin. so instead of talk about how busy we've been (at times), how tiring work has been (at times) and how i've felt a bit challenged (at times) - i'll just say that i'm fine and dandy.
sure, there are some things that i'd like to fix/change about my day-to-day life. but i just can't bring myself to complain and i think that's why i've strayed away from old 'golly gee'.
i'm not sure if this mentality plagues any of you, but sometimes i find it's just easier to use this online forum as a place to air grievances or to 'let it out' when i've had a hard day. after thinking about this tendency to complain, i've decided that it is not who i am and what i want to 'put out there'.
in all honesty, my life is pretty gosh darn amazing.
i have a sweet husband, a great family, a rewarding (and often hilarious) job, many wonderful friends and a happy and comfortable life. i want my posts to reflect who i am most of the time...not just me on my worst days.

in the interest of reveling in the happiness and joy in my life, here are some things that are putting a smile on my face:
*memories of a recent trip to the coast with my wonderful husband (courtesy of his very generous company). whale-watching (kind it still whale-watching if you only see a hint of a whale?), yummy dinners, fireside snuggles, leisurely bike rides, ocean views...sigh. matt being gone all the time is not ideal...but a free weekend get-away is a nice consolation.
*time (face-to-face and phone) with my family - so lucky to have them close enough to visit. :)
*my 1st grade kiddos are reading like crazy! so crazy, in fact, that they were one of the top ten classes in a reading contest in our area. on monday morning, room b-07 will be visited by sharkie, who will praise them for all of their stellar reading. it will be a fun/crazy 15 minutes - and i'll try to get some pictures of the super cheetahs attacking the poor man in the shark costume.
*new tv on dvd via our good friends (both real friends and our friend named netflix) - some of our new faves include flight of the conchords (hilarious!), how i met your mother (who knew cbs had funny tv for young people?) and the wire (very serious....but so good).
*snail mail - including some sweet cards from family/friends and a wedding announcement of a dear old friend. congrats katie! (if you still read this).
*being on a little vacation. i'd like to give a shout out to my old friends George and Abraham for being born and having your birthdays recognized. also, thanks to the nice people at the district office who decided we get a whole week off. i appreciate it greatly.
*finalizing/making plans for our upcoming vacations -- vancouver in march and the u.k. in june! yippee!
*the stew currently cooking up in our crock pot. yum, yum, yum. my husband quoted a great man who spoke fondly of stew: "Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s still plenty of meat on that bone. Now you take this home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going." -- anyone care to hazard a guess who said these wise words?

matt just got home, so now our evening can begin. what are you doing you might (but probably won't) ask? well...we're about to upload turbo tax and have a super awesome night of stew, brew and taxes. life is pretty great. :)
happy thursday/weekend to you all.