We Are Fami-Lee

We Are Fami-Lee

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It Finally Happened...

I'm sick.

I felt sick right before Hawaii, and overdosed on Vitamin C. I got better.

I felt sick right after Hawaii, and overdosed on Vitamin C. I got better.

I felt sick on Thursday morning, and overdosed on Vitamin C. I am still sick. Right in time for my very relaxing 2 week vacation. I literally just woke up because I couldn't go to sleep last night until like 3 o'clock.

Oh well, at least I have time to recuperate before having to teach 24 energy-sucking 4th graders!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Letters

My coach (I have to have a coach that comes and helps me once a week because according to the district, I'm a first year teacher) kicked me out of my classroom today so the kids could write me some letters for a Christmas present. Here are some of my favorites:

(written on a Christmas tree): "Mrs. Lee you are the Best Teacher of all in the school and I do dare say I have had a lot of Great ones. But I do say you are the best of all."

(written by a student who I have to get after pretty much all the time):
Mrs Lee
Rockin teacher
Super

Lee
Extra nice
Everyone loves you (I had to spell all the words right, otherwise you wouldn't know what it said...)

"Dear Mrs. Lee, I think you are the best teacher in the whole world! Thank you for all the things that you've taught us. I think that 4th grade is easyer than any other grade because you are such a fun teacher! Merry Christmas!"

(We are writing a persuasive letter to Santa for writing right now, and I gave an example and told my kids I wanted a Kindle for Christmas. I had to prove why I thought I deserved it):
"Dear Mrs. Lee, Hello. Ya know I think I will give you that Kindle you wanted. But guess what, this is Nate, not Santa...You relly deserve a Kindle because you are the best teacher in the whole wide world!"

HA!

I have a pretty good life!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

After several unsuccessful attempts:

We finally got our Christmas tree up,
some presents wrapped,
our stockings hung with a fire blazing,
and some cute decorations put up!
(I painted these at our Relief Society Super Saturday. I know, I'm awesome!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, right? Not so when you are sunbeam teachers and you haven't been there for two weeks.

The kids were CRAZY. Literally CRAZY!!! We had a total of 8 kids there today and 6 of them had a total meltdown or something close to it. They were hyper, touching each other, going behind curtains, throwing chairs...yeah, Crazy!

I'm kind of mad about the whole situation. We have two sunbeam classes and they stacked our class with all of the boys that are real behavior problems. (6 out of the 8 today were boys...) If you look at the other sunbeam class, there were four there today, three girls, one boy. And, they were perfect.

You might say that it's us and we aren't good at managing these kids and if someone else was in our position they could do better. Sometimes, I like to take the blame for things like this. Not this time. If you look at the other class, they have a substitute almost every week. Different teachers every week. And they are perfect every week. It's not a matter of who's teaching, it's a matter of what kind of kids they are and who they are surrounded by. 6 boys who are the same age, best friends, and are only 4...not a good combination. I don't care who the teacher is. The primary presidency should know this and spread out the tough kids and the reverent kids. That way it's only 3 hard ones instead of 6. That's a huge difference.

I feel like they (the primary presidency) think that we can handle hard kids because I'm a teacher, but I really don't think that is fair. Yes, I may have more experience with that many kids at the same age, but that doesn't mean we can handle 6 boys wreaking havoc!

Unfortunately, I think it will be just as bad next year. We had a Sunbeam Orientation on Wednesday so that the new set of kids could meet their teachers, and we had to do like a 5 minute lesson so they knew what it was like to be in Sunbeams. We had 5 there, the other class...3. We definitely had all of the crazy kids again. The other kids were angelic the whole time. I could only say that one of our kids behaved that night.

Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to the new year. In fact, I am seriously considering sending an email to the primary president and telling her we think it's a good idea to call another set of Sunbeam teachers. It's really not fair how this has played out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hawaiian Vacation!

Hawaii was a much-needed, much appreciated vacation from life! It was just amazing.

We kayaked on the ocean, swam with dolphins, went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor, ate delicious food, lounged on the beach, hiked to a beautiful waterfall which we swam in, and went scuba diving! It was too much fun!

My favorite part, by far, was scuba diving. They taught us how to do it in a pool first, which I'm really thankful for because it helped a lot! Then, we went into the ocean. It was a little scary, I'm not going to lie, but only the breathing part was scary. I was worried that I'd find the ocean scary, because c'mon, it's the ocean, but that part was fine. It was the breathing. It just didn't feel right that I was breathing under water. It took some getting used to. I kind of panicked on our first dive because my regulator (the mouthpiece you breath in and out of) fell out and even though they taught us how to get all the water out, it kind of freaked me out because when we practiced, I knew it was going to fall out; in the ocean, it just fell out from a strong current. It was scary. Once I put it back in my mouth, I pushed the button that takes all the water out of it and took a breath, but it still had some salt water in it, so I swallowed a mouthful of seawater. That was unexpected as well, so it took me awhile to get my breathing under control. I just had to tell myself to relax, and it was fine. After that, it was smooth! We saw so many sea turtles, we touched an octopus that inked us several times, and we saw a couple of eels, and of course we saw beautiful fish. It was breath-taking. One of the sea turtles was literally inches from Derek's face and just stared him down for about 30 seconds. It was amazing. We had an underwater camera, but unfortunately, we ran out of film before we saw all of the cool things. We took most of the pictures on the first dive, because we didn't know we were going on a second, and literally right before we saw the first sea turtle, our film ran out. Derek also said that he was so used to digital cameras, that he forgot he couldn't take as many as he wanted. Oh well! It's just an excuse to go again!

I wish I had pictures from the rest of the trip, but Judi and Jen took all of them on their fancy cameras and we haven't gotten them from them yet. We'll see if I post them once I get them. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hawaii

We are going to Hawaii in 3 days.

And, I'm starting to feel sick.

Awesome!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's November; Time for Some Thanks!

When Derek graduated from college in 2008, he started working for a company called DeltaValve. They made valves for oil companies (that's really the extent of what I know, because I'm no engineer...). He tried to be positive, but it got really hard because he just wasn't getting the kind of work that even the lowest of engineers should have been getting. With over 70 people working for the company and only getting drafting jobs, he couldn't really impress the types of people he needed to.

A little over a year ago, he was asked to spend 6 weeks helping a sister company called TDC to work on a specific project. TDC had recruited several of DeltaValve's engineers for projects like this but it was known that it usually took longer than the time they had recruited them for. Derek knew this, but there wasn't much he could do. He went over to TDC and started working on this project.

About 4 weeks after starting at TDC, DeltaValve had it's 3rd set of layoffs in 5 months. And, this was a big one. Derek's boss at TDC called him into his office and said that if Derek had still been working at DeltaValve, he would have been laid off, but because Reuben (TDC boss) had seen Derek work for the last several weeks, he had talked to corporate and asked if he could hire him on at TDC, for good.

Without Derek having to do anything, he was fired and hired all in one day. We were pretty lucky.

Derek has liked working for TDC a lot more than DeltaValve. With only 8-10 people working there, he has had many more opportunities to prove himself and get the kind of work that he should have been getting from the start. It was hard work, and he actually had to do more work because there were fewer people, but he really loved it!

Yesterday, Derek was told by his boss that all of DeltaValve was moving to Houston, where corporate is located. He said that DeltaValve was doing 3 more rounds of layoffs, at the end of which, only 12 people would be asked if they wanted to go to Houston. 12, out of like 50. He said that the 12 who would be going would most likely be those that are high in rank, who had been working for the company as long as it had been in operation. I asked about TDC and what was going to happen to it, and Derek said that all was well, and his boss was projecting more hires, not fires in the next few years.

I cannot tell you how blessed I feel that Derek was asked to do a short-term project at TDC, exactly at the time that he was. He wouldn't have survived that 3rd lay-off a year ago, and even if he had, he never would have made it past now. He wouldn't have been asked to move with the company, and even if he had, I can't leave until my school year is over so we couldn't have done it anyway. He's happier at TDC, he gets more work, and his job is stable. I have a job, and as long as we stay in Utah, I have definite job security. My principal loves me and I also have several people at the district level who know and respect me, so I'm fine.

We both have jobs. We are so blessed.

Friday, November 5, 2010

UVU Volleyball

In August, I got an email from the coach of the UVU girls volleyball team asking if I wanted to have my students write letters to one of his players. I said I would love that!

In October, they sent us the profile of one of the volleyball players and I had my kids write letters to her. She wrote back, and I expected her to write one class letter, but she wrote one to every student that had written her. It was so nice! With her letters, the coach also sent us tickets to their game. 2 for each student. I told the kids and they got so excited.

Tonight was the game. Derek and I went and eight of my students came. It was so much fun. It was nice doing something with my class without having to worry about them. All of their parents were there, so it was their job to worry about them! The kids made posters for our volleyball player, who turned out to be the captain of the team, and they cheered to whole time! Finally, our "pen pal" saw us and waved. The kids loved it!

At the end of the game, the players all sat behind a table and the kids got to get all of their autographs. They gave them a team photo and each player autographed their picture. It took awhile for all our kids to get through the line, but I think it was worth it.

I loved seeing my kids in a different way tonight. And, I loved having Derek finally meet some of them. It was fun chatting with some of the parents and cheering for the team.

Oh, by the way, UVU won 3 games to 0!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TEN!

I've lost 10 pounds! Woohoo! It took 3 weeks to lose the first 5 pounds, and a whopping 2 months to lose the second 5 pounds. Oh well, at least it's off. I won't make my goal to lose 20 by Hawaii during Thanksgiving, but I really feel great! I feel like I look better than I did when I was 10 pounds lighter than this just because I'm more toned. I'm still going to try and lose 10 more pounds, but I'm just not sure when that will happen. I'm hoping to at least keep the 10 I've already lost off over the holidays. If that's all I can do, great, but if I can continue to lose during the holidays, even better. Anyway, that's my news! Go Me!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween


Halloween is always a fun holiday. Especially in the profession I've chosen. Yesterday, I had two boys go home throwing up because they had already had too much candy (not from me, so I don't know how they got it...) and one girl with a migraine headache. I had another girl in tears because her wig had been ripped off and it was bobby pinned to her hair, so it pulled her hair. She wanted to call her mom to have her come fix her wig. I said no. Mean teacher, I know, but really?

I dressed up as Mulan. Well, to be honest, it was really a geisha costume, but I wore a sign on my back with Mulan written on it, because I didn't want any controversies spreading around the school. Everyone loved it!

Tonight, we went down to Doug and Heather's because they were going to go to their ward's Trunk-or-Treat. Emily was a witch, just like last year, and Colby was a pirate. Brady dressed up as the cutest Batman I've ever seen. Even Derek dressed up! Before going down there, we decided to go to Wal*Mart to see if they had any costumes left. They had a lot, but they were all XX-Large! We almost didn't buy one, and then Derek saw a Ninja costume. It was they same size, but we bought it hoping it would work out. Somehow, I'm not sure how, but it did work! He was able to tie a sash around his waist that made the tunic seem a lot smaller. It worked out! A ninja and a geisha. Perfect couple...:)




The best part of Halloween was definitely at the end of the Trunk-or-Treat. The whole time, the sky was black with thick clouds, it had already rained before, and we were watching as the clouds moved right over head. It wasn't raining so we just kept going. All of a sudden, it started pouring. And I mean POURING!!! Everyone started running for their cars. The water was everywhere, you couldn't see a thing and it was coming down hard! Right as we got to Doug and Heather's car, it started hailing. I had Emily by the hand and she started screaming because it hurt so I had to cover her with my body while Heather searched for the car keys. Kids were screaming and crying everywhere. And poor little Colby was definitely one of the loudest. We got them all into the car and everyone was crying. It was hard not to laugh after we had gotten everyone in. Colby, amidst streams of tears, yelled out, "I never want to go Trick-or-Treating AGAIN!!!" I was crying I was laughing so hard. Here we were, trying to make a great Halloween night for these kids, and they have been completely traumatized! For the rest of the night, Colby kept telling everyone that he hated Halloween and never wanted to go again! So funny! Once, I told him that I should get all of his candy since he hated Halloween so much. He didn't think that was that funny!

Overall, one of the best Halloween's I have had. It was fun dressing up, and it was hilarious with Doug and Heather's kids.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Our Way

2:15 can't come fast enough. Why? Oh, I just get to leave school then and take a flight to my home state, good ol' California!

Derek's best friend Ryan, is getting married in Oakland this weekend and Derek is a groomsmen so we get to be there for all the major festivities! I'm very excited. Not necessarily because I love weddings (sometimes they can be rather boring) but because I get to have a 3-day weekend in California! That's not all! Megan and Reed now live in that area, so whenever there's some down time (which there always is in a wedding), we get to spend time with them! Yay!

So, this weekend will be filled with lots of dresses, pictures and fun times. I couldn't ask for more!

Monday, October 11, 2010

"You are the best teacher ever!"

I will never get tired of those words. Especially when they are spoken by a 10 year-old!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What A Week!

Last week was one of the longest in my life.

This week FLEW by.

Parent Teacher Conferences were on Wednesday and Thursday night. Overall, it went well. I only had a couple parents that weren't too thrilled about a couple things I was doing:

One dad was flabbergasted that his son had a multiplication chart on his desk so when he took his timed tests, "he has all the answers?" I tried to explain to him that it's good to understand how to use certain tools, like calculators, to help with certain things. I assured him that our timings would would have less and less time so his son wouldn't be able to use the multiplication as a crutch if he was going to pass them off in less time. That seemed to quiet him, but at first he seemed quite appalled!

Another mother left a facebook status after she talked with me that my principal Cami told me about this morning. She was just saying how upset she was about how her son was getting bullied at school and she was going in to talk to his teacher (me) about it. Apparently, I handled it just fine because according to another facebook status, she said that things had been taken care of. My principal was upset that she was posting about something that should probably be a private matter to discuss, but she was grateful to me for handling it so well.

Other than that, it went well. Besides the fact that I currently have NO voice.

I knew that would happen, so brilliantly, I decided to make today a Read-a-thon day! No teaching for me, the kids are still learning (they read the whole day and are using math to add and subtract the number of pages they read, and at the end of the day, we graph the results as a class to find the winner), and I have time to rest my voice, get caught up on things I need to get done and relax for once this week! Like I said, BRILLIANT!!!

Well, that's how my week has gone. Luckily it's over after today and I'll have a much needed weekend! And, I have next week to look forward to. Monday--field trip. Tuesday--substitute so I can go to a district meeting. Wednesday--last day of the week and the only day I have to teach. Thursday and Friday--UEA/Fall Break! Sweet!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Read, Read, Read

What do you do with a kid that never stops reading, even when he's supposed to be doing other things. It's not like I can get mad at him, because I'd rather him want to read than do nothing at all. But, seriously, every time I'm talking, he has his head down and he thinks I won't notice. Even now, he's supposed to be doing make-up work (because I'm sure he reads all night instead of doing his homework :) and he keeps looking at his neighbors book and is trying to read it. C'mon. Seriously? Funny kid, but I really don't know what to do with him!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stinky Breath

I am married to a man who is very clean. Sometimes, he will take 3 showers a day, if he gets dirty or sweaty. Usually, it's just once, but whenever he feels unclean, he'll clean himself up to make sure he looks and smells alright.

For the last couple of weeks, he has had really stinky breath. Now, I know he brushes his teeth because I'm always home when he does it and he's never had stinky breath before, so I didn't know what was wrong. I usually only smelled bad breath after work, and when we would brush our teeth at night, we would typically go to bed right after. I thought that maybe he had acquired that stinky breath syndrome that makes your breath smell even if you brush your teeth all day. I wouldn't tell him everyday because I didn't want him to feel bad, but occasionally, I'd let him know, just because I would be embarrassed if my co-workers could smell my breath all day and I would want to know. He never got his feelings hurt, thank goodness.

Well, last night I figured it out. We went and brushed our teeth, but then we stayed in bed talking for a little while before going to sleep. I had been in the bathroom when he brushed his teeth, but his breath still stunk!!! What was the deal?

THE TOOTHPASTE!!!

I asked him to breathe on me, and sure enough, our toothpaste had the worst smelling scent I had ever smelled in a toothpaste. It smelled just like stinky breath. I couldn't believe it! After that, I threw away that stinky toothpaste and got some better kind. All along, we BOTH had stinky breath because of some darn toothpaste...

Whoever thought of that scent should be fired!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teachers

I've really been struggling the last couple of weeks with the teachers on my team. I wrote about it a couple posts ago, but I don't think it came across how hard this is becoming. It has gotten so bad that I talked with my principal early this morning about it so she would know what's going on and maybe give me some solutions.

Yesterday, we had a faculty professional development. Our principal started by doing some team-building activities. One activity required us to solve a hard problem but what made it harder is we had different personalities or jobs to perform during the challenge. One was the Leader, another the Harmonizer, another the Questioner, another the Antagonist, another the Helper. After the activity, we talked about the different personalities and our principal wanted us to think about what type of person we are on our team. I thought that I would either be a leader or a harmonizer. I was definitely the harmonizer last year on my team, even if that's not my natural inclination. As I thought about my other team members, the only role that they play is Antagonist. All 3 of them. It's always, "This is so dumb. I don't want to do this. Let's just leave early. Let's not collaborate until the principal comes so we have something to say while she's here." It's constant. And they sound like 5 year-olds!

That's when I really started feeling overwhelmed. I spent the rest of the afternoon quiet as they complained yet again about how stupid these team-building activities were. I just thought, yeah, you would think they're dumb, especially because you know it's for you!!!

I don't know. It's been hard to keep my spirits up. It's constant negativity and I'm starting to feel negative too. I hate that. I want to feel like I can control how I feel, but the negativity really just bears down on me and I can't seem to escape it.

Today was a bit better because I tried to avoid everyone as much as possible. But, I can't do that for 8 more months. I don't know how to deal with these people. I don't really have any validity in my opinions because they've all been teaching for longer, so I can't naturally stand up and take the lead. I have to be a follower, but I don't want to follow them. It's definitely frustrating.

My principal didn't have many suggestions but she said she would talk with some other principals who have had negative teams and see what they did to solve the problem. Luckily, I don't see them all the time, but literally, whenever there is a time when our kids our gone, they'll just come into my room and negative, negative, negative. And, it's not always about school either. There's one who tells me every single thing about her life and why her life is so much harder than everyone else's. It is wearing on me.

Anyway, I'd thought I would vent. I haven't done that in awhile on here, so I thought it was about time! Here's to another 8 months!

Monday, September 27, 2010

School's Out for...

The day!

Yep, it's 1:57 and at 1:45 the kids all went home! Sweet!

It's how our district is handling budget cuts, so instead of 4 paid professional development full days, we get 4 days but it's only 2 hours a day. The kids go home early, and we get more time to collaborate and learn. It's nice, but not nearly as nice as it could be! Oh well, count your blessings, right?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Finally Figured it Out

I knew that teaching at Alpine Elementary would pose different challenges than at Cherry Hill, but the ways that I thought I would be challenged haven't come to fruition, at least yet. I thought that I would struggle with bratty kids, but more specifically bratty parents. So far, I have only seen great things from both parents and students. I couldn't be more thrilled.

But, I have found out what specifically will be my challenge this year, and it wasn't necessarily what I expected. I knew from the day that I met them that my team would be a tad hard to work with. Not because they aren't great people, but because they didn't like to do anything together, and I noticed that first off. It has been very hard going to collaboration with them (every Monday is early-out so we have about an hour to an hour and a half to talk and collaborate as a team) because they don't want to talk about anything regarding students. On Monday, they knew that the principal was going to come in and check on us, so they literally said, "Let's not talk until she gets here so we have something to say!" How hard is it to talk about what we can be doing better as teachers, or what we've done that's worked really well for us? Apparently, pretty hard.

So, I have figured out why this is so hard for teachers here in Alpine. It's because no matter what they do, their students will pass end-of-year testing. No matter what they do, Alpine will probably be the best school in the district when it comes to scores. So they don't need to worry about what they can be doing better. They can just do what they've always done and get on with it. Collaboration to them is a waste of time because they haven't seen a need for it. I, on the other hand, understand how wonderful it is to have a team that talks with one another and bounces ideas off each other and continually tries to be better than they already are. And that's because I taught at a school where we did have to worry about how many of our students would pass. We had to constantly think about how we were teaching things because we wanted to try and help our kids progress from one year to another.

I think I like the other mindset a bit more. As hard as it was to teach at a school with so many low kids, it challenged me, which I liked. It was my first year, yes, but I tried everything I could to make each lesson of each subject meaningful so that my students would learn something. I already feel like I'm slacking a bit and adopting the mindset of "I don't have to do anything special and these kids will do just fine in life." That scares me a bit.

Hopefully, I can keep up my motivation to be the best teacher I can be regardless of how my team feels.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smile Big...

It's Picture Day!

Got to love school Picture Day! As a teacher, I never knew that I would get a free package of pictures featuring my beautifully and professionally touched-up face. If anyone wants a wallet, just let me know! There's nothing quite like having a grown adults face in several different sizes. I have an 8x10, you know. But, you've got to be a REALLY good friend to get that one. I don't just give that one out to anyone!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bat

This is the bat on our wall, right outside our door. It's been sleeping there since at least 7 a.m. this morning. It's small, but I'm making sure to move fast whenever we leave...

All in a Day's Work!

8 peppers
5 tomatoes
1 cucumber

We have a lot of vegetables to eat! And, there's more to come!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and I had a great day! My students all knew it was my birthday, so the day before they asked me if they could bring me something. I told them they could make me a card with a nice note in it. They asked if they could buy me something. So, I said I like Skittles and Butterfinger. I didn't want them to buy me things but I knew that they would anyway, so I wanted to make sure that they were inexpensive! Some of them kept teasing me saying they would bring me a puppy because they knew how much I love them. It was pretty funny. Well, on the day of, I got home-made cards, butterfingers, skittles, balloons, flowers, and even some sunglasses. These kids are so funny. I accepted graciously after telling them I was mad at them for not just making me a card. Luckily, they all understood I was teasing too and that I was grateful that they had thought of me!

While my kids were in Computers, I got surprised by my mom who came and brought me balloons. She had had a doctors appointment and on her way decided to drop by and wish me a happy birthday. What a sweetheart!

After work, I drove up to Derek's work in Sandy and then we both went up to the airport. Derek's friend, Ryan, had a layover in Salt Lake and neither of us had seen him in a long time, so we picked him up and we all went to dinner. We met Jen there since she works in downtown Salt Lake too. We went to the Red Iguana. It's probably the best Mexican food in Utah! It's gotten several awards and was even featured on the Food Network Channel on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." It was delicious!

After we dropped Ryan off again, we drove home and then rented a movie. It is called "Memento." It is directed by the same guy that did "Inception." I wouldn't say the movie was as good as Inception, but it definitely made you think. In fact, I'm still not sure I understand what actually happened. It's about a man who has no ability to make new memories. His sole purpose in life is to find the man that killed his wife and took away his short term memory. The movie is just snippets, but they don't come in order, so it's like a puzzle you have to put together by the end. I must not be that good at puzzles, because it was hard to understand...Also, it was rated R, and probably for good reason, because the "f-word" was said way more times than any movie needs.

Then, we went to bed!

It was a great day! I got calls from my brothers, and most of my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law (Steph, I'm pretty mad that you didn't wish me a happy birthday...just because you're in Jerusalem doesn't mean you can slack on your familial duties! :) My niece and nephew called me and sang me Happy Birthday in their sweet little voices. They were too cute!

Overall, a very happy 23rd birthday! Hopefully the rest of the year is as good!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Primary

Today, we had an excellent lesson on tithing! We gave each of the sunbeams (they are 4 years old) 10 pennies (after they pretended to work by vacuuming, dusting and wiping things). They put 9 of them into a jar we gave them, and the other coin they put in a tithing envelope that we had already filled out for them. Then, we walked over to the bishop's office and gave it to him while he told them how proud he was of them for paying their tithing! It was so cute to see $.01 on all of their tithing slips! They were so excited to give their tithing to the bishop. I hope it doesn't sound like we are brainwashing these kids, but it really was a cute lesson for them to learn. And, I think they'll remember about tithing for a long time!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weight Update

Okay, so the summer didn't go as planned. I was going to lose 20 lbs by the time school started, and I went to the gym almost every day, I thought I was watching what I ate, but I lost nothing. That's right, NOTHING! I was kind of annoyed, even though I still felt good about working out.

It was after I went to Whistler with Derek's family that I decided enough was enough. It is partly because my sisters-in-law are so skinny (including Carolyn, who had a baby last year...) that made me decide I was done! (Thanks for being my motivation girls!)

In the last 3 weeks, I have lost 5 lbs! Wohoo! Yay for me. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm teaching again, so I'm on my feet more, walking around helping students. It's also because I got the display for the bodybugg so I can actually see how many calories I'm burning each day, just by looking down at my wrist. It's been nice!

My new goal: lose that 20 lbs before going to Hawaii in November. I think I can do it. Only 15 lbs to go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Bit Jumbled...

I love teaching! I really do have one of the best classes. Yeah, they are certainly a talkative bunch but they just haven't learned how I want things done. I'll teach them, and they'll learn.

I may be speaking too soon, but I feel like because I don't have to worry (as much) about how low my students are and how to get them to a 4th grade level in one year, I can be myself so much more. I felt like last year, I was always having to be on someone's case about getting to work, or not talking, or something. This year, I feel much nicer. I'm able to talk to my students like normal people, not like a teacher to students. I can mess around and be silly because I know they can get back on task quickly and really, because they are so much ahead of the students last year, it won't hurt them to be off task every once in awhile. I feel much more laid-back and I like that. Hopefully, I'm not speaking too soon and I can enjoy this part of teaching the whole year.

I already feel like I'm 10x a better teacher than I was last year. I find myself explaining things and while I do, I'm thinking to myself, "Man, I wish someone could see this, because that was the best way to explain that!" I feel like I have more time to have unplanned teaching moments that I really didn't have time for last year because there were other crucial things the kids needed to learn. I feel like I'm able to be a better teacher here because I don't have to worry about how far behind they are, and I can teach in the moment. It's refreshing, to say the least.

Overall, I'm happy about my move up to Alpine Elementary.

In some ways, I feel bad saying all this. It makes me think of all my wonderful friends and family who have been to Africa, South America, and even here in the States, in some low-income parts of cities, to serve people who need it the most. That's how I felt last year, like I was serving those kids who needed it the most. And now, here I am, talking about how refreshing it is to teach rich white kids. I know they still need teachers, but that's just what I mean when I say I feel bad saying all this. I don't know. I'm a bit confused by the situation really. I don't know how to feel. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day

Well, another first day has come and gone! I feel like a pro and it's only my second time around!

It went really well today. I must say that it is completely different from my last school. I feel like this year will be a breeze compared to last year. I had so many low students in my class last year; it felt like I was teaching fourth grade material to kindergartens, and I pretty much was. Last year, my students didn't even know how to write a sentence. Last year, one of my students didn't know the answer to 2+1. Last year, I had 8 out of 24 students in Special Ed. Last year, I had trouble communicating with several parents because they didn't speak English.

Not so this year. I can already tell. I just gave my students a "What I Did This Summer" page with a small amount of space to write a paragraph. Most of my students turned the paper over and kept writing. Last year, I would have gotten 1 sentence, if that. It would be like pulling teeth just to get them to do things. This year, even the 3 Special Ed students, got right to work and did good work too!

All those things are great, but I hope that I can get the same satisfaction I got last year. I feel like I got to see so much progress with my students last year. They only had up to go and I got to see them get there. It was emotionally taxing to hear and learn about the home lives and their stories, but it made me love them more. I could be the one adult in their lives that cared for them and loved them. I'm not saying I can't be the same teacher to these students; I just feel like I won't have as big of an impact. I'll just be another teacher they had in Elementary School.

I want to make a difference. That's why I chose this profession. I hope that I can make that difference here. I just might have to do it in a different way!

Monday, August 23, 2010

School

It's all starting again. And I have been willing time to slow down. No success.

My first day was Friday and school starts Wednesday. Tonight is Back to School Night and I'm a bit nervous to meet parents. We had a bit of an issue on Friday when class lists were posted. Something happened with the computers and a lot of the lists weren't saved. The secretary didn't notice and when they were posted, parents were really upset when they didn't get the teachers they had requested. There were people constantly in the office, the phones were ringing off the hook and the principal and secretary were about ready to cry because of all the stress. Yeah, I'm a bit nervous to meet parents. Especially because none of them requested me because none of them knew me. So, I hope they aren't the ones that are upset about not getting the teacher they requested.

I feel a lot more physically prepared for the school year this year. I feel more comfortable about the curriculum and how I want things to be done but I am definitely not as mentally prepared as last year. Last year, it was all I could think about because I was so nervous. This year, I feel less stressed because I've done it before, but that means that I haven't thought about it as much. That may not be bad, but I can't really remember how I started the school year last year, what worked, and what didn't. So, it would be a really good idea for me to start thinking about school...seeing as it starts in 2 DAYS! I'm sure everything will be fine, but there are a lot of different variables this year. Parents, for one. Is it obvious I'm a little nervous about that? Yeah, we will see how that goes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Movie Set

I have had quite a weekend...

For those of you who don't know, my brother Tyler is an aspiring movie maker. He's wanted to make movies since he knew that it was possible. And...he's really good. I'm not just saying it, either. I really think that he has as good a shot as anyone to make it and make it big.

He had a film shoot this last weekend from Thursday to Saturday and asked me to do all of the food for the actors/crew. Now, this doesn't seem like it would be that hard, and maybe it wasn't, but because Tyler is trying to be professional and legitimate, he wanted me to not only feed the 30+ people breakfast, lunch and dinner, but to take snacks out to them and make sure that they had enough water throughout the day. This meant a lot of walking, a lot of standing, and not a whole lot of relaxing!

One of the hardest things to deal with was the fact that we shot out in the middle of nowhere. No power, no stove, nothing. So, I had to find ways to cook hot meals (because Tyler wanted to keep his actors and crew happy) and serve them hot, when our shoots were 45 minutes away from any town. Luckily, my other brother and sister-in-law live in Springville (close to the Santaquin location we shot at) so I could drive the 45 minutes to cook meals and drive back. The hardest was breakfast though. Talk about having to be on set at 7:30 a.m., after having driven 45 minutes from Springville, after having cooked a hot meal. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep...I'm exhausted.

One other thing...it was all worth it.

I had a blast. The time of my life. It was so much fun. I got to be behind the scenes of a movie being made and it was by far the best movie my brother has ever made. They were able to get real actors, who were just so amazing, live horses, crazy equipment to work with, and a very talented crew. I was super impressed. I would just sit there watching a scene over and over again and every time I saw it, I would get chills up and down my arms. The actors didn't even have to change intonations or anything, it was just that amazing. The lead actor was pretty new at it all, but I told him that he must have been born with raw talent because he was incredible...One of the older actors was in "The Restoration" as Joseph Smith's dad and I couldn't even begin to tell you 1)how good he was and 2) how incredibly friendly and humble he was. It was great getting to know them.

I felt that way with every person I met. I was there for 3 days, but I felt as if these people were family. They were so nice and so helpful and just fun to talk to. I must say that after it was over last night, I felt a little let down. As exhausted, sore, stressed and sunburnt as I was, I wished that we could do it all over again next week. I hope this was not the first and last time I'm on a movie set. It was so amazing!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sunbeam

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for him each day;
In every way try to please him,
At home, at school, at play.

A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I'll be a sunbeam for him.

We're trying to be as enthusiastically willing to serve in
our new calling.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recent Happenings

This summer has been awesome so far. School's out, it's sunny and warm, and we've spent plenty of time enjoying it all!

On the 4th of July, we went to my brother's house to light fireworks. I was feeling relatively festive and patriotic, so I decided to make a little something to contribute!

Needless to say, it was delicious!


Also, as already posted, we planted a garden mid-May and are seeing some of the fruits of our labors. Here is our first chili pepper. We haven't tasted it yet...I'm a little afraid of how hot it might be, but it's still exciting!

Here we have our first sign of broccoli. Yum! We weren't sure how broccoli was grown because for awhile it looked nothing like it, so we are glad to see that we did something right!

Our first tomatoes! We had to search to find them, but we have several. I think Derek counted about 7 so far!

Carrots! It took awhile for them to sprout, but they've really grown in a short amount of time.

This is one of our 5 potato plants! They are humungous! We were told that we should pile up dirt on top of them when they aren't that tall so we could get more potatoes, but we figured that since there's only two of us and we have 5 plants, that we wouldn't worry about it. Now I'm wondering if they will overtake all of the gardens around ours...

So that's just a "taste" of our life this summer. ("taste..." I'm so clever!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Anniversary!!!

It's been 3 years! I can hardly believe it.

We had a really fun time last night. We got all dressed up and went to Tucanos. I know, not the most dressy place we've ever been, but we wanted the food!

We exchanged gifts. Derek got me a gift card to a spa...I'm totally getting a 1 hour massage! Heaven! I got him Planet Earth on BluRay. He's been wanting that for probably as long as we've been married but I'd way rather have a massage!
Here's to another year!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Odds 'n Ends

I feel like I should update this thing, but I don't have much to say...

I'm taking a management class today (I had a nightmare last night about the first day of school and my kids were absolutely crazy. Maybe I'm telling myself that I'm excited for this class...) and it goes until Friday.

Derek and I went to Seven Peaks on Saturday...for FREE! I love being a teacher. I got 2 free tickets for doing absolutely nothing and then another one in the weekly ValPack. So we went for a couple of hours with my mom. It was fun, relaxing and very much needed.

On Friday, I made 16 pints, that's right, 16 pints of strawberry jam. When we went to volunteer at Strawberry Days last Wednesday, they gave us a case of strawberries for free. So I made 4 batches of jam, which came out to 16 jars! Luckily I know a lot of people who like jam and that I have a big freezer!

I have been going up to South Jordan EVERY DAY to work out with Derek. (Well, not every day, but 5 out of 6 days is pretty much every day...) I'm not really seeing any results, but I'm feeling pretty good. I guess that's enough for now but if I don't start seeing the fruits of my labors, something will have to change!

That's all I can think of for now.

Oh, and I still love puppies!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Puppies!

My sister-in-law Jen just showed me this website because she knows how much I LOVE puppies. If I could, I would have one right now! Every time I see a picture of a cute puppy, it just makes my day so I figured I would add the daily puppy to my blog so I could see it every day! I'm so excited! Check it out on my side bar!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer

This summer has started out just great!

It was a long weekend, so Derek and I went and hiked Timp Caves. Neither of us had done it before and it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, I got all my stuff into my new classroom! I'm so excited that I have access all summer to the classroom because I can decide when I want to come in and get all organized. I can't believe how much nicer the room is than my trailer last year...it's still old, but it sure doesn't have a pole running straight down the middle of it!

On Wednesday, I went to the temple and volunteered as part of the grounds crew. We pretty much just raked the dirt to make it prettier and cut off dead flowers. Still, it was really cool.

Also, I have been going to the gym every day this week and I have started to watch what I eat more seriously and in three short days, I've gone down 2 pounds! It could just be because we all fluctuate a bit (but I hardly ever fluctuate down; it's usually up...) but I also think it's because it's always easy to lose weight when you first start. I'm planning to lose 18 pounds by August 23rd (two days before school starts...) Then, the battle will be to keep it off during the stressful months of the school year.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Over...

And I cried. Hard.

I wasn't expecting to cry so much but I am going to miss those kids. Even the hard ones. I spent the last nine months with them every day and it's going to be hard not to see them again. I will miss them! Some of the things that happened today:

Several kids were going a little crazy because it was the last day of school and so I had to tell them, "Don't let the last memory you have of me be of me yelling at you!" They just smiled and pretty much kept doing what they were doing before. Gotta love it.

Haley brought in her sugar glider that was the talk of the class.

I gave out awards to my students which were all funny to me, but not so much to them (like Julie getting Most Expressive Reader because she reads the dictionary with more expression than anyone I've ever met...or Devin getting "Best Teacher Mistake Detector" even though most of the time they weren't really mistakes. I still remember one of the first days of school and I was showing them a map of the world and I said, "This is Southeast Asia" and Devin said, "No it's not, that's Australia!" Oh, he really thinks he knows more than me...classic Devin)

I'm going to miss these kids. I just didn't realize how much until now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Delicious!!!

Add some creamy peanut butter to any box mix of brownies and you get...

HEAVEN!!!

So good! Want to know what else is good? Having only 5 days left of school. I'm so excited but as it nears, I'm also getting a little bit sad. I will miss my kids a lot. Some of them might take a bit longer to miss, but I know I will. All of them, regardless of how hard or (can I say it..) annoying some of them have been these past months, have changed my life in one way or another. And, I will miss them.

I will post some pictures of the last few days. I'm planning on taking a lot!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Funny Story

After re-reading that last post, I thought I had to tell a funny thing one of my kids said on Friday. Derek and I laughed about it all weekend.

I was reading a book aloud to the kids and looked up when I heard one of my students talking.

Me: Keenan, why are you talking?

(without hesitation) Keenan: Because that's what I do! I'll put a mark down now.

He then put a mark down on his paper meaning he owed me a minute of recess.

Ha! That was classic. I laughed so hard, it was difficult to keep reading for the next five minutes!

At least he knows his weaknesses. And, at least he knows the consequences for his actions.

Coming to an End

I can barely believe it, but there are only two more weeks of school. 9 more days. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was writing about how nervous I was about starting school and now it's almost over. Crazy.

It's been the most difficult and the most rewarding year of my life. People told me it would be hard, but I just couldn't understand what they meant until I went through it. I felt that same way about getting married. People told me that there would be an adjustment phase and so I was prepared, but it wasn't like how I thought it was going to be. It wasn't that hard, just different than I was expecting. Teaching has been the same way. I never realized how hard it would be to figure out how I wanted to do things and how many times I would need to try something new until I found the one that worked for me. I never realized how hard it would be to deal with students at such different levels (1/3 of my class being in Special Ed). I never realized how exhausted I'd be or how long I would have to stay after school to make sure I was ready for the next day.

But, I also didn't know how happy I'd be. I didn't know how many stories I'd have to take home to Derek about all the funny things my kids said and did. I didn't know how satisfied I'd feel after a student progressed on standardized tests, or after the light bulb went on and they finally understood something that had taken them so long to get. I didn't know how much I'd miss these kids who at one time or another had driven me nuts.

It's been an awesome year. I'm sad to see it end (excited for summer but sad about leaving my kids) but happy for another year to start, and to know where that will be!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gardening

For those of you that are around me often, you know all about my gardening plans this summer. A couple of months ago, our ward told us that the church owned the land behind our building and they were letting us use it for garden plots until they decide to put another building there. I got really excited just at the mention of it. Now, I'm no gardener. I've never gardened in my life, but I really needed to do something this summer to make sure I didn't get depressed with all of my down time. So, how perfect would this be?

Anyway, today was the day that we got assigned our plots, so Derek and I went out and bought some gardening tools and we fertilized it and set up our water system. I feel like doing a garden like this is the perfect way for Derek and I who aren't gardeners because it's like the Stake is holding our hands and guiding us all through it. They've created a Stake calling as well as individual ward callings to help us all with it, they got all of the hoses (we just had to pay 20 bucks) and set it all up for us, they are timing the water to go on and off when needed and they are giving basic gardening classes for those of us who really have no idea what we are doing!

I'm really excited. My grandpa is an avid gardener so we are going to wait until Monday to plant so he can be there to help us (he's out of town this weekend). The plot is 10 x 15 feet and we are trying to decide what to plant. So far we know we are planting tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, and peppers (possibly jalepeno and bell). Does anyone have any other ideas of what we can plant? Maybe something obvious that we are missing? Or even something not obvious that you love? We want to grow small amounts of lots of things because we can't eat a bunch of the same thing but we just don't know what else we could plant that we would use enough of. Anyway, I'd love your input.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Alpine Elementary

Yep, that's right. I have a job next year and it's at Alpine Elementary! 4th grade!

I just got a call about an hour ago from HR saying that I got two job offers (Alpine and Rocky Mountain). She told me that I would have until tomorrow to decide and I asked her if it was alright to call her back tonight before 5 p.m.

I waited an hour to make sure that I knew what I was doing and not making a hasty decision but after thinking and saying a quick prayer, I realized that I wasn't going to change my mind even if I did take until tomorrow and sleep on it. So, I called her back and accepted the job! Yay!

Apparently HR called the principal right then because minutes later I got a call from the principal and she offered me the job as well. I told her I was very interested and she was a little surprised and asked if I needed to talk with my husband or anything. I told her that HR had already told me about the two offers, I had already talked to my husband and it wasn't a very hard decision because we knew if we got an offer from her that we would take it! She was really happy about that! She told me she was really excited and thanked me. That's right! She thanked me for accepting the offer!

I'm very excited (if you couldn't tell). I will have different struggles next year than this year, but I feel like no matter what I will automatically be a better teacher because I have already done it once!

Anyway, that's my news. I'm so happy right now. I think Derek needs to take me out to dinner!!!

Pioneer Trek

Because I teach 4th grade in Utah, I have to teach Utah history. I feel a bit awkward doing social studies when it comes time to teach about the Mormon Pioneers. It feels too much like I'm teaching church history at a public school. Plus, since I am LDS, I don't want students to think that I'm promoting the church. I've tried to make it sound just like history, telling them about the Mormon's leaders instead of calling them prophets and teaching them that the word "pioneer" just means someone who does something first in order to pave the way for others.

Anyway, we are going on our Pioneer Trek today. The kids love it, but I still feel weird. I mean, I went on a Pioneer Trek for a church youth activity, and now I'm doing it with my students.

Side-note: There is a teacher here who has been teaching a long time and yesterday she asked me if I wanted to show the movie "Legacy" to my students. It took me awhile to realize that she meant the movie that the church produced to be played at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building at Temple Square for missionary purposes.

"You show that to your students?"

"I show it to them every year!"

I turned to another 4th grade teacher and mumbled, "I don't know if I agree with that!" But, I just let it go and told her I was fine and didn't need to show it.

Legacy? Is she serious? Does she realize that she could lose her job if just one parent disagreed and threatened a law suit? Anyway, I was appalled. I just don't know how someone couldn't see how absurd showing something like that is. Oh well...I can't do anything about it! Anyway, I should probably go...time to set off on our trek!!

By the way, I should find out today if I get a job. Someone I trust told me that he thinks I'll probably get two offers (at least) and I'll get to choose. I hope that's the case! I'll let you all know.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5 Interviews, 5 Days

Whew.

I'm done. For now.

Overall, the interviews went great! I am most excited about my interview with Alpine Elementary. It was the best interview I have ever been in (on either side...). I was really on my game and I answered the questions flawlessly. I made them laugh, I told them impressing specific experiences I have had, and ultimately wowed them....I think....

I really feel like I might get an offer from them, but I don't want to say anything too soon for fear that I won't get anything. In fact, even typing those words was really hard for me!

I just hope that something comes from the interviews I have had this week. I'm exhausted and hope I don't have to do another one! I'll let you all know when or if I hear anything. I was told by most that I won't find out (good or bad) until Wednesday of next week. So, I guess we'll see!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2 Down

I had two interviews this morning and they went really, really well. There is one school in particular that I would LOVE to work at. The principal was extremely personable and made me feel completely at ease talking with him. I know it would be really easy to work for him! Plus, the school seems just amazing. Talk about two extremes from my school right now to this one!

The other interview went well also, but the principal didn't seem as nice, outgoing and personable. He was very serious, proper and professional. The other guy just seemed a bit more real if you know what I mean. Anyway, I wouldn't want to work at this school as much as the other one. It technically should have made Title 1 ahead of Cherry Hill but for political reasons, it didn't. So, it's pretty much working at the same school as now without the money for aides, and other resources and support. So, much harder than even this school now...

If I had my choice, it would be the first school I interviewed with. I still have two more, and I just got contacted for a third one today so that will be this week as well! 5 total!

I'm awesome!

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's a Crucial Week!

I feel like so much is happening in my life right now that I could write a post every couple of hours and I'd have enough to say. I still want to upload some pictures of graduation and talk about that, but right now, the priority goes to this week.

It's a crucial week for me!

I have four interviews this week. Count them. Four! I am really excited about it. It all started a week ago. Monday afternoon, my mom called me with some really great news. Her current principal is becoming the new principal of Alpine Elementary. She talked with my mom that day and asked her what my grade preferences were. She told her 4-6 but I'd take anything. Her principal got a big smile on her face and said, "Well, I've got a fourth and fifth grade position at Alpine. Tell your daughter to get online Tuesday and apply for Alpine!" When my mom told me this, I just started crying because what a blessing it was to have such a great connection!

Tuesday came and went, and no jobs.

Wednesday morning about 65 jobs got posted in about a half hour. I applied for (almost) all of them. I first just applied for upper grade positions thinking that I could go back and apply for 1st and 2nd if needed. It was a busy day.

Thursday was a bit more laid-back. I wasn't sure what to do so I just let the day fly by. That night I talked with Derek and we agreed that nothing was going to happen if I didn't try to do something about it. I had to be proactive so I wasn't just another name on a page. So, I wrote a letter to all the teachers asking them for help. I asked them to email any principals that they knew just to tell them that they knew an intern at their school that applied for a position. I told them I just needed an opportunity to interview and I would take it from there.

Friday, I put the letters in every teacher's box.

By Friday afternoon, I had two interviews. Lindon Elementary and Bonneville Elementary. Sunday, I got an email for another interview at Rocky Mountain. Today, I got a call from my mom's principal for Alpine Elementary. Four interviews.

It's a crucial week for me!

Two of my interviews are tomorrow (Lindon and Bonneville). I got a 1/2 day sub for the morning so I can go to both without worrying about getting back quickly or anything.

I don't feel too worried about the interviews but obviously I would like them to go well. It's still hard, because my top choice is still Alpine (where my mom's current principal is going next year) but that interview isn't until Thursday. I hope that the decision process takes a couple of days just in case I get more than one offer. That way I can take my pick without fear of time running out! We'll see, I guess. Keep me in your prayers!

It's a crucial week for me!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Butt or Gut?

I know that every woman has an area that she's just not all that happy with most of the time. For me, it's my stomach. I feel like no matter how much weight I lose, my stomach looks exactly the same. It's frustrating, as I'm sure most of you guys have felt from time to time.

Ever since the school year started, I have gained about 20 pounds. There are several reasons for this: it's been the most stressful year of my life and when I get home from work, I'm exhausted. Much too tired to work-out or even make dinner. So, Derek and I have been eating out a lot more this year than in years past.

I had told myself many times that if I ever reached 150 pounds, that would be my wake-up call and I would do whatever I could to get it off. I have now gone 5 pounds over that and I still haven't done anything about it. Here's why:

If the scale didn't tell me differently, I would have thought that I had only gained 5-7 pounds. This is because when I look in the mirror, I see only my stomach. Right? Whenever there's a mirror, I'm either getting ready, so looking at my face, or getting dressed, so looking at how my clothes fit around my stubborn mid-section. (I don't know if this is the same for all woman, but I really only look at my most self-conscious area) I was confused by the scale, because my shirts didn't really fit any differently. I could tell I had gained weight in my stomach, but not 20 pounds! I knew it had to be somewhere, so I just assumed it had spread out evenly on my body because I couldn't see big differences anywhere.

That's because I never turned around!

My butt has doubled in size. I'm not sure why I didn't see this after my jeans stopped fitting, but I guess with all the stress this year, I just never turned around!

Now, I'm not all that upset about it. In fact, I'd way rather have a big butt than a big gut! But, now that I know where all the weight has gone, I can't keep pushing snooze on my wake-up call. It's time to lose some weight.

Derek and I went to his gym and I signed up for a month-to-month contract. I figure I'll have all summer to do what I want, so I might as well do something that will make me feel better.

My goal: lose the 20 pounds. It may be a lofty goal for the summer, but I'm just going to see how far I can get.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In a Nutshell

It's been long enough, I assume. So, I'll share a bit about what we did in Boston and New York over Spring Break.

We got to Boston on Saturday night and had a good time catching up and playing with our favorite 8 month old niece. Jeff and Carolyn took us on a tour of the Harvard Business School and we had a nice relaxing evening. On Sunday, we stayed in most of the day because it was conference weekend so we watched a session and just hung out. The next couple of days were just as relaxing and just as fun. We took a walk along the river, baby-sat Elizabeth (she wasn't too happy that I wasn't mom, but we still had fun...), saw a movie, and Derek got to sit in on a couple of Business and Government classes, while Carolyn and I got to go to a fun photography class. We went out to dinner, got introduced to "The West Wing," and saw the sights. We took a "Duck Tour" which is this big bus that goes around town and then turns into a boat and takes you on the river. It was really fun. We got to see a lot of cool things in Boston.


Boston Bridge while boating/bussing in the water

Cheers!

George Washington

There were a lot of other pictures that I took, but it was really hard to hear the tour guide, so I'm not sure what I was taking pictures of. Lame of me, I know.

New York was a bit more up-tempo, but it's just more of that kind of city. Everyone is always bustling around, it's light outside even at night, and it's really loud! I have to tell you about our hotel. I booked online and the pictures were beautiful. It was really close to Times Square and for a decent price compared to anything else I saw. When we got there, it really was beautiful. It was classy, ritzy and made me feel a bit uncomfortable and out of my league! It's when we got into our room that was a little funny... Derek opened the door and had a really confused look on his face. I was hoping that they hadn't given us the wrong key and we hadn't just walked in on a sleeping couple on the bed. But, that wasn't it. Here, I'll show you...


The room was about 150 sq. feet. Let's just say we had to get a little cozy on that twin size bed...

But, we only needed to sleep and shower there, so it served our purposes perfectly. We did a lot in the two and a half days we were in New York. Thursday we just oriented ourselves and got used to what we were going to have to do. We bought a two-day bus ticket for one of those tourist double-deckers that also gave us tickets to go to the top of the Empire State and a boat taxi to the Statue of Liberty.

Friday was really rainy, but it turned out okay because we just took the bus to Columbia and NYU because Derek wanted to check out the Business and Law Schools there. We really liked NYU's Business School. They were really welcoming, and it seemed like it might be a great fit for Derek. After our day of talking to the schools, we went back to our hotel and decided we wanted to do something fun that night. So we went to our concierge and asked for some tickets. We were able to see Mary Poppins that night. It was really good. I love the music in that show anyway and the dancing was also very good.

Saturday cleared up really nice so we could get on top of our double decker bus and really see the sights. We went up to the top of the Empire State Building...


Took a water taxi to the Statue of Liberty...
met the bull...
and ultimately had a really amazing time.

That night we got to go to another play...this time for WICKED! Now, I know that that's old news and everyone and their cousin has seen the show, but it was a first for Derek and I and we thought it was awesome! It was the only play where at intermission I told Derek that I couldn't wait until I could see it again...and it wasn't even over yet. I really enjoyed it!

So that was our trip, in a large nutshell!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Graduation

I keep telling myself that I will update this thing about Spring Break and spending it with Jeff and Carolyn and baby Elizabeth. But, that requires me to upload all my pictures and quite frankly, I'm lazy! I will get to it eventually (because we really did have a good time) but there is something else on my mind right now...

Graduation.

I graduate on Friday. I don't really feel all that excited because I haven't been in school for a year now but it does make me think about what I'm going to do next year.

I just had an interview with Canyons School District. Last year, Jordan School District split and CSD is the "richer" of the two districts. While Jordan is firing, Canyons is hiring. So, obviously, I would rather work for a district that I have a bit more chances of staying as long as possible.

The interview went really well. It was a screening interview meaning I will be put in the candidate pool for any position available. The interviewer was really impressed with me and seemed interested in helping me get a job with Canyons. I would love to work for Canyons because I think they are going places and they seem to have the same philosophies that I have.

But, I would rather stay in Alpine. I feel like I have a foot in the door here but I don't know. I hope I have the choice, but obviously, I will take whatever I can get. But most importantly, I hope I can get something.

We'll see!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bungee!

video

One of the people that went with us on the zip-lines took this video and sent it to me. Now you can see for yourself!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Boston and New York

This week is Spring Break! Woohoo!

We decided back in September that needed to visit Derek's sister and brother-in-law while they lived in Boston for a short time. (I also knew that I needed to see their brand-new baby more than just twice in her first year of life!) So we decided that Spring Break would be the best time to go!

We leave tomorrow and will be in Boston from Saturday to Thursday. Derek has been wanting to visit some schools out in the east anyway, so we figured we would also go to New York. We head to New York on Thursday in time to visit some schools and then play over the weekend. We are going to see Wicked (which I have never seen before) so we are really excited. Derek and I have never been to Boston, and Derek's never been to New York, so it will be really fun!

I'll post pictures soon.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Teacher of the Year

No...not me...but my mom! She just got Teacher of the Year! She's only a 2nd year teacher! I'm super proud of her. She really is an awesome teacher and I look to her a lot for advice and help with teaching! Just thought you all might like to know!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Me

I'm not sure if I have ever told any of you this, but I have this secret obsession with America's Next Top Model...

I know, it's not something I'm proud of, but I'm addicted. Consider this my confession. :)

Anyway, as part of the show, the contestants get a makeover where they get their hair cut, dyed, etc. Its really funny to watch some of the girls completely break down and cry because of their hair, when usually it looks WAY better than they had it before.

After watching the last episode, I decided that I wanted a change. So...

I dyed my hair today!

It's nothing too drastic. I dyed it red all over and it looks really good. Inside, it just looks a bit lighter, but in the sun, you can really tell that it's red! I tried to get a good picture to upload a "before" and "after" shot, but because the change is really only seen in the sunlight, it was hard to capture it. I figured you wouldn't just want a "before" shot...I'll keep trying to show all of you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Garden Gnomes

Side note: I had this dream about a creepy garden gnome, and I woke up sweating and hyperventilating. I think I might be going through a mid-life crisis, what with my conclusions about myself and my freaky dreams about gnomes...:) Just thought you all should know...

Conclusions

I have come to a conclusion about myself over the last several days, and I'm not so sure it's a good one.

I don't know if my struggle to "find myself" was any worse than any other teenager out there, but when I was in high school, I struggled to find out who I was and who I wanted to be. I often called myself a chameleon because I started to act like whomever I hung out with the most at any given time. I would adopt their sense of humor, their tastes in music, their political beliefs, everything. I didn't know what I liked, or even, sadly what I thought about a lot of things. I'm not sure that I even knew the extent of my chameleon-like behavior.

I don't know why I struggled so much with this. It may have to do with the things that I had to deal with at a young age that made me grow up faster than any other normal 9-year-old. It was hard to find things that made me happy because that time of my life wasn't happy. I also think that it has to do with my family dynamic. My brothers have a very unique sense of humor that is extremely witty and sarcastic. If I was to survive my life with them, I had to make myself like them so I could stand up for myself. This went against who I was, so I ended up being that annoying little sister who threw fits and cried until I got my way, another type of person that I knew I wasn't. I had no idea how to find my place even within my family and this was a definite struggle.

When I went to college, I tried my best to change myself to the person that I wanted to be. I was able to do this, to an extent, but I lived with a friend from home, and I think that that hindered my ability to fully change the way I wanted to change.

It wasn't until I met Derek that I started to like the person that I was. He allowed me to find myself through him. It's really hard to put words to this feeling, but it just became a lot easier to be who I wanted to be whenever I was around him. I discovered the sense of humor that really appeals to me, I started to learn how I thought about political issues and I started to use my own brain to decide for myself what I thought about things. (I don't want anyone to think that I never used my own mind, that I never acted like myself; I did, it's just that Derek helped me to become that person instead of sometimes act like that person.)

Derek made me happy. He still does. Every time I am near him, I can't help but be the happiest I've ever been. My mom even told me while we were dating that I was the happiest she had ever seen me. He has done a lot for me and my life to help me be happy.

This is the conclusion I have come to: I am happy when I am with Derek. Now, that doesn't seem like a bad conclusion...until Derek leaves for a fun "boy's skiing weekend" in Montana, or a business trip to Houston for a week. I'm miserable without him. I'm lonely, lazy and pathetic.

So, the other conclusion I came to (the one that is a bad conclusion about myself): I still have not found the person that I want to be. I know who I am when I am with Derek, but I don't know who I am without him. Now, this may seem a little over-dramatic; it was just a weekend trip and a couple days of laziness and loneliness doesn't mean necessarily that I'm a bad person or that I don't know who I am. But, it was an eye-opener to me.

My goal is to find things that make me happy without Derek. Things that I can do, things that make me happy. I want to be happy independent of Derek. I'm so grateful that I have him and that he has allowed me to find happiness, but I need to know enough about myself to be able to be happy when he's not here. I figure that when we have kids, and I stay at home to care for them, I'm going to be alone most of the day, and when the kids are small, they won't be able to talk with me, and I may be a little lonely. I'm going to have to figure out how to be happy before that time so I'll be ready.

I'm going to start by giving myself some alone-time to do things I want to do, even if that just means pondering and thinking about what those might be.

If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to comment!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tidbits from the Week

Monday: My Teacher Work Sample, the 50 page paper I had to write in order to graduate from BYU, was due. I felt really good about it, especially because I had had my facilitator look over it and he said it was solid. I had it all printed off except for two pages, which needed to be color because there was a graph.

About 2 hours before it was due, I went to print it out. Let's just put it this way: it took me over an hour to figure out how to print these pages because apparently the Word document did not recognize that there was a graph on the page so it would print the words around it but leave this big blank spot where the picture should be. It took me forever to finally get it all figured out but I did and it all worked out. I went to go put it in my folder and there was too much paper so it wouldn't fit. Luckily, Megan (the other intern) had two identical folders (we needed to print two copies).

Yeah...it didn't fit either. So, I had to take out some of the student work samples that I had put at the end, making the page numbers jump around a bit. At that point, I didn't care because it was due in a few minutes. Megan and I were able to jump in the car and get it turned into BYU in time. Whew! It's done!

Tuesday: I have been getting over a cold lately, but on Tuesday, I sneezed 5 times in a row, more than any other time in my life. Just thought that should be something to record...

Wednesday: I had a really good/hard conversation with my facilitator today. It was good because he told me that only a handful of interns that he has ever worked with are as good as I am. He told me that he would do anything that he could do (letters of rec, etc) to help me get a job next year, and he told me time and time again how sad he and the principal are that they can't keep me next year. (there has been some budget cuts...AGAIN...surprise, surprise, and even though Alpine School District won't be firing any teachers, most schools will lose teachers and they will then be shuffled around to different schools, so if my school is going to be losing some of the teachers that they've had for years, they won't hire me back; it just doesn't make any sense).

The converstation was hard because I realized how hard it is going to be to get a job this year. I have heard all year (from my principal, facilitator, BYU CFA) that it won't be hard for me to get a job because I'm a good teacher, but it IS going to be hard to get a job because they just might not be hiring. I know I shouldn't worry yet, but it's hard not to worry and think about all possibilities of what I could be doing next year. I REALLY don't want to sub next year, especially because I have already had my own classroom. If I had student taught, it might be different, but I have already experienced how much better it is this way. I don't know. I guess I'll just keep you posted!

Derek is leaving tomorrow to go on a ski trip with his friend, Ryan. He'll be gone all weekend. There's no school on Friday, but I get to go to a Title 1 meeting and get paid all day, so that will be good. On Saturday, I have a ward activity I can go to and then he'll be back on Sunday afternoon. I'll keep myself busy, but if anyone wants to play, call me up!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Happens in Cabo Gets Shared on this Blog!

The week was relaxing...occasionally. But, that's the best kind. I felt like we found the perfect balance of relaxing at the beach reading and doing fun, sportsy things.

We got into Cabo on Wednesday afternoon (we left at 7:15, meaning we had to get up at 4:30 to be there by 5:30) and had what most would call a very relaxing day. We sat and read and then went to eat at the most delicious restaurant called The Office. I know right? We thought they should definitely play The Office theme song; they'd get way more tourists at the restaurant! It was a really nice restaurant with the tables and chairs right on the beach so you could dig your toes in the sand while you eat. Plus, the food was incredible. I had the best fajitas of my life! We didn't wait long to get in our suits once we got back to the room and go out in the hot tub. Blissful!

On Thursday, we kind of had a lazy morning, which again, so okay with me! We got in a rental car and drove to San Jose del Cabo, a town close to Cabo San Lucas. We went because we heard it was a hoppin' place, but it wasn't. Maybe that's because we went during Siesta time because all we saw was a whole bunch of Mexicans under a huge canopy in the main plaza just sitting there. It was kind of funny. We walked around a bit and decided to have some lunch. Let's just say that I have never eaten at a place called Dirty Sanchez before, but I'm sure glad we did! It was awesome!

When we got back to Cabo, we got in our suits again and rented Jet Ski's. That was a blast. It was my first time on them but I got the hang of it pretty quick. We drove to the arc that is famous in Cabo, and Gary even drove through it (even though I don't think we were technically supposed to; what a rebel!) Gary and Judi saw hundreds of seals on this huge rock, but Derek and I only saw one. He was this lazy old seal sitting on top of this tiny rock. There was only room for him. I drove around it and tried to get his attention. When he finally stirred, all he did was lift up his flipper and waved at me. It was a pretty special moment in my life! Just as I was pulling away, another seal surfaced about 10 feet in front of me. I almost hit it and I screamed, which I think scared it away! It was a successful first time Jet Skiing if I do say so myself!

On Friday, we walked over to the Marina and swam with dolphins. That's right...we swam with dolphins. Well, one dolphin in particular: Frida! She was a very nice dolphin. We hugged her, kissed her and swam with her. She was very friendly and funny too. She could answer questions by nodding and squealing and she beat all eight of us in a water fight! Plus, she weighed 400 pounds but could still jump 20 feet in the air. It really was fun! We spent the rest of the day doing beach activities and reading some more!

On Saturday, we woke up early and caught a cab to go zip lining. It was a blast. There were eight cables, 400 feet and tons of fun! The longest line was 1/2 mile long and we got up to 50 mph. We did a lot of hiking too! Once you go down, you must climb back up to go down again! We went backwards, tandem, and we even did a running jump. It was a blast!

(Kind of an awkward pose, but cute picture, right?)

(Super Fun!)

As we were hiking up the last hill, Derek saw this white platform/building hanging from the sky, right smack dab in the middle of the canyon. Derek asked one of the guys what it was and he said it was the place the did bungee jumping. Derek got this big grin on his face and we knew he wanted to do it. They all asked if I would do it too, and I said, pretty nonchalantly, "Yeah, I'd like to try that! Sounds like fun!" I said this without really thinking....

Well, we paid for the extra fees to do it and we were on our way. We had to get into this cage of death, as I like to call it, that creaked a lot when it moved. It took us to the platform and when we got there, there was no floor! I mean, there was, but it was made of glass so you could see the 400 feet down to the bottom of the canyon. It's kind of like the Calgray Tower, but the whole thing was made of it, not just a little portion. So, they put the velcro things around our ankles and told us how to do it. Derek went first and he laughed the whole way down.


I screamed, he laughed!

Then, it was my turn. They asked me to put my toes over the edge. What? Are you insane? Completely out of your mind? I put my toes over the edge. They told me that when they said 3,2,1 Bungee, I shouldn't hesitate but just jump outwards, spread eagle. Yeah...right...don't hesitate. Am I human? They asked if I was ready, but my heart was beating out of my chest so I asked for a few minutes (as I read this over again, it seems that I am not sharing how completely out of my mind scared I was. These strangers were asking me to put all of my faith in them and jump out of a platform...hanging from the sky...possibly to my death. Yeah, I was pretty much hyperventilating!) I finally said I was ready so they said the magic words.

3...What am I doing?

2...Have I completely lost my mind?

1...Here I go, bending my knees like I'm really going to jump.

Bungee!

I jump. That's right. I jumped. And I screamed the entire way down. But it was fun! I probably wouldn't do it again. I've done it once; that's good enough for me but I'm glad I did it. It went quickly but it was fun.
(I don't know if you can see the complete look of terror on my face, but it's there!)

So, that was our trip. I read two books while I was there. That alone was worth it! I love getting time to spend reading! Plus, we got some son (my nose is peeling as proof). What more could we ask?