Monday, April 20, 2015

Sometimes School Sucks (SOS)

Future teachers, listen up. (Oh, and hi to my other faithful blog readers!)

Do you ever read teacher blogs? You know what I'm talking about... "Stupendous in Second" "Frilly Fantastic First" "Little Lifelong Learners"... Okay those blog names are all totally made up, but you catch my drift. Some teacher from East-Jesus-Nowhere devotes her life to over the top classroom activities, crafts, lesson plans, the whole nine yards (and all in pretty fonts!). The overall vibe is happy-go-lucky, over the moon with creativity, happiness, love, optimism, and perfection. I'm just here to tell you, real life everyday teaching is NOT like that. Maybe it's just me that's under the impression that there's a bit of a facade, but teaching is always summed up to be so dandy.

I am not trying to scare you. I do not despise my job. I'm just saying teaching is hard. Think of all the people (and parents!) you've heard say, "oh you're a teacher? I could NEVER do it!" Seriously though... not everyone can. Some days I'm not even sure I can :). Usually that feeling only lasts for a day or two. My day today presents a good example...

This morning I came into school knowing that everything was planned and laid out for me. How did I know...? Because I was at school for three hours yesterday prepping everything. (And yes future teachers, that will probably be you someday soon.) Anyway, upon arrival at school and normal school morning stuff, I read my email and discovered (GASP!) we had an assembly! This morning! An author in residence had come to tell us all about his travels around the world. Super cool, right? Well it was... except for it was being held in the gym... during my class's p.e. time. No big deal to me, but to my kids... END. OF. THE. WORLD. Particularly to one student, who I will call "D". After I broke the news to my kids, D proceeded to cry for about a half an hour. All because "I I I just don't wanna miss GYM!"

After calming D down and finishing our morning routine, we headed to the gym. Our assembly was cool and the kids were well behaved, but the presentation ran well into our recess time. Thus, upon arriving back to our classrooms we headed out to recess. I had duty. It was cold and there were 3 grade levels (about 300 kids) outside for their recesses too. MADNESS.

Upon coming in from the wind whipped tundra, we were met by a school staff person who had come to observe D. "Juuuuust great" I thought after the morning's incident. To my great surprise, the class was angelic. They sat and listened and participated, even though they were having trouble understanding just how to make inferences. With our shortened reading time, we did not quite finish grammar or the read aloud before lunch. No worry, there would be plenty of time to finish after. Right?

Dun, dun, dun.

Following our 20 minute lunch, I had about 15 blessed minutes to run a few school errands, cut some papers, take deep breaths, and prep things for the rest of the afternoon and next day. The kids returned from recess, we did our read aloud and finished reading. Then we headed to the computer lab. One thing you should know about computer is that it is not a special. K-2 teaches their own computer class. Cool right? Wrong. Some days it feels like a miracle just to get all the kids sitting, logged in, and quiet. While the kids were working on math enrichment, I noticed that D was doing anything but. His collective, attentive self must have all been wasted during that morning's observation. So I walked over to D and said, "Honey, you're borrowing that pencil so you can't have it in your mouth. That's kind of gross. I also notice that you're not really working over here. What's going on?" To which he responds, "I just don't really like doing so much math because it's a lot for me." (Deep sigh.) "I know it can be hard for you, but it's good to help your brain practice math and to show me all the good things that you've learned in second grade. Plus we need to do our work so that we can earn free time at the end of computer." "UGH, okay."

Upon returning to his computer, I notice that D finishes his math quite quickly... and then reviews his missed questions... which is all of them. So I call him back over, "D, what happened with your math? I noticed that you got a lot of questions wrong." "Well you told me that if I don't do my work I can't do games so I just picked answers so I am done." "Yes, but none of your answers are right. So now, you have to do some more problems so that you can show me what you've learned." "Right now?BUT MISS SPECHT..." "Yes, now." "UGH."

Good talk, glad we had it. Fortunately, computer time was almost over. We returned to the classroom and had a Happy Minions dance break. Because why not? You can find the link here. This dance break was honestly the cutest (and last sane) part of my day. Because next we started math. For those of you who know me, you probably know math is not my strong suit. But I usually excel at the second grade level. Not so much today. We were learning about 3D shapes, their faces, edges, and vertices. First of all, I'm not sure I learned that stuff until I was a junior. Second of all, look at the controversial shape.

It's a cone. It has one face. Zero sides. And how many vertices? That my friends is the great debate. Because in our lesson, vertices were clearly defined as "the point where three or more edges meet." However, our text also insisted that the cone has ONE vertex. How does a shape with no edges suddenly qualify to have a vertex? I SERIOUSLY DON'T KNOW. So I did what any normal person would do. I went to google. With my 25 students. Scratch that, 24 students because by this point D had become so upset and frustrated with 3D shapes and math that I had to haul him down (and I do literally mean haul, stomping, grunting and everything) to the sped rooms. I left my class behind with hasty instructions to do a quick activity and literally left D in tears screaming with the specialists. Do I feel bad about that? A little, but it's in his plan and not in the plan for the other 24 students to deal with. Okay, anyway... even GOOGLE is up in arms about this cone vertices topic. So please, if you know the real answer, help a sister out. 

By the time I get focused back to teaching after the hauling incident and the googling conundrum, there are approximately 10 minutes left for the kids to do some independent math work. Shoots. That's not enough time for the worksheet and activity I had planned. Worksheet it is. :(

After 10 minutes, recess. Solace right? Wrong. I had 3 students in for behavior and 4 in for work. Ya know, on our biography project we were supposed to finish last week. And these guys don't even have their first draft done yet. Oops. Easy enough, I had to run down to the office while my guys got to work. A short 3 minutes later I return to find that my guys, instead of working are at the door YELLING outside to three other classmates, "YOU GUYS, GET HIM HE HAS TO COME IN AND GET HIS WORK DONE!" To which I responded, "WHAT do you think you're doing?! Get yourself into the classroom and sit down NOW. YOU are the ones with the work who needs to be done. It is NOT your job to be the teacher and tell people what work they need to get done. THEIR work is already done and YOURS is not. I AM THE TEACHER,  AND YOU ARE NOT DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME NOW GET TO WORK." 

You guys, I may not always be the calmest person.... but I can usually keep it together. Not this time. I had to leave the room. Fortunately, after recess we switch classes. My kids go to social studies and I teach science for the kids next door. Which is great, the kids LOVE science, but there's always one kids who manages to get in trouble. Amidst making a flip book for natural resources (cause I'm a cool teacher lady who incorporates graphic aids into learning), I am hauling another kid out to the hallway for a "What is wrong can you please just stop being such a pain in the butt and sit and I have higher expectations for you and can you please listen and do the activity please, please, please just NOT." You can probably guess about how well that went. 

Finally it's the end of the day. I'm up to my earlobes in frustration. We've got homework to pack and projects to finish and tests to take and piles to correct and bigger piles of papers to hand out and 6 of my kids leave for speech. Okay. Divide and conquer we did. Unfortunately, divided tasking for the kiddos means a divided brain for me... which means instead of sending homework for this week I accidentally sent home homework for last week. I think it must have been as I was seething from watching D fiddle with anything/everything to keep from doing actual work for the upteenth time that day. Just maybe. 

And that my friends is just one day. Of 180. I hope this goes to show that teaching is not all sunshine and rainbows. And now looking back on my day, I realize that it really could have been a lot worse. While D was the super star antagonist of my day, there are about 5 other kiddos who could have played that part or any combination of a supporting role. Thank sweet baby Jesus that was not a reality. 

Fingers crossed it's not tomorrow either. 

Until next time, 

Peace, love, and SOS, 

Ps... I really do love teaching. I just hope that I love it a LOT more tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Many Funnies

Hey there blog readers! I'm sorry I've been on an extended hiatus. I know that every time I write I say something along the lines of, "oh my, my, my I can hardly believe it's been so long since I've written." But truthfully, I can believe it. What's a busy teacher lady to do in the face of planning chaos? Prioritize! Unfortunately, my prioritizing leaves blogging dangling down at the bottom of the list. Shoots.

That's okay, because here I am again with a mere 25 school days left! I've almost done it! The first year is so close to being over that I can almost taste the freedom... unfortunately the kids can too. Which means they are SQUIRRELY. And it's hard because I actually like them now and I don't actually want to punish them... but it does make for some darn good stories. For example:

Today, one of my students came in and said, "Miss Specht, I brought my water bottle again today except for I didn't bring water in it... It's hot chocolate. WELL it's not reeealllly hot chocolate, but it tastes just like it because of all the creamers. So it's like hot chocolate but it's decaf because it makes me not sleepy so I won't sleep in math class!" Uhm, what? That darn kid had actually brought coffee to school! What's a teacher to do? I let him drink it. Maybe not the best idea. Around 12:30 that kid CRASHED. Big time. So off the sped room he went, book in hand because I'm not sure he knows what decaf is and I was not about to handle a tantrum in my class. Kids.

Another student did just not seem like himself today. So I called him over and said "Hey buddy, I've noticed that you're not dancing on our brain break and you look kind of sad today. What's going on?" He instantly welled up with tears and said "Last night I had to go to my brother's Cub Scouts meeting and it didn't get over until 8:45, and we didn't get home until after, and then I couldn't fall asleep so I'm tired...*sniff, sniff, tear rub*" "You usually go to bed at 8:00, don't you?" "YES!" He was so sad and tired that I let him lay his head down on a pillow for a while. Poor thing. Although I wish I could get as much sleep as he does. As Cody said... "you need it!" Thanks honey.

Speaking of my honey, the countdown is ON until the wedding! It's less than 100 days away! Things are getting done and planned (scouts honor). One thing we checked off of our list this weekend was Engaged Encounter... brought to you by the good old teachings of catholicism! The weekend included a 14 hour (no, I'm not kidding) session on Saturday and a 5 hour session on Sunday. Yes, it was an outrageous amount of time to spend listening, reflecting, sitting on uncomfortable chairs, writing, and discussing. Fortunately there were 32 other couples suffering through the time with us. And while our time spent was long and somewhat tedious, I would do it all again because we got the chance to discuss some real serious things that I think all couples should discuss (which I guess was the point, huh?) Topics included family life, faith life, decision making, and all that other jazz. It may sound silly, but this retreat really made me think about the big picture of marriage. Like as a whole... which is kind of intimidating because it's my whole life. Whoa. Good thing I'm not going into this crazy ride alone :)

Now I'm sorry to disappoint, but I'm going to wrap this post up. Mostly because it's 9:35 and I'm legitimately making an effort to sleep more... so it's time! Good night blog world, until next time...

Peace, love, and sweet dreams,

Monday, February 23, 2015


February is hard. Ask Cody, he's 22 and still prefers to spell it Feb. No joke. So when this little beauty popped up on a spelling test last week, I literally laughed out loud. They try so hard :)

It seems like February has totally flown by. It's been a fun one with the kids as we've learned about MLK Jr, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges for Black History Month. We've also had visitors from Delta Dental and have talked about the importance of healthy teeth. The kids cannot believe the pictures of decayed teeth and how people could ever let their pearly whites get so... dull. Our biggest project of the month has been writing biographies. Using the website pebblego (if you've never checked it out, maybe do. SUCH a great educational resoure!), students researched a famous person. They filled out a note taking sheet about a person of their choice (ranging from Jesse Owens, to Squanto, to Marie Curie, to Walt Disney). Then the kids wrote a rough draft, edited, and completed a final copy complete with illustration to display in the hallway. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of them! You'll just have to trust me, the biographies look bomb. 

One thing I did remember to get pictures of is my Frozen bulletin board! I didn't forget my promise to you dear blog readers. Duh.

The kids did a great job creating their own "melted snowmen" and even provided the names of their favorite books for our bulletin board. Jack and Annie and Junie B. Jones books were definitely the MVPs. 

Here's a quick list of other classroom things that have been happening: 
- A new seating arrangement- pods. I'm not a huge a fan, but I wanted the kids to experience sitting in groups. It was time for a change.... although it's been an extremely chatty change. 

-Conferences. Round two! I will definitely admit that round two was far less stressful than round one. Most of the kids are doing well but it's always nice to see the parents anyway!

-Interventions. Following middle of the year testing, some planning, and conferences, interventions have been put into place for math and reading. All the kids are making progress... but we're pushing to see more improvement. So some of the students who're getting intervention or extra support are already above grade level... But haven't shown enough growth. I really struggle with this side of teaching because 1. it's not something I've really worked with before. And 2. how am I supposed to grow and enrich the learning of kids who are way above second grade level when I'm teaching second grade? It's been frustrating to me, but I'm working to figure it out. It's all for the kids and that's the most important part :)  

-My third observation. It was a science lesson. Last Friday. Afternoon. 2 pm to be exact. With not even my class (because my class switches with another after for science and social studies). I know what you're thinking... why would you DO that to yourself, Jayna?! And honestly, I don't think I was really comprehending the situation that I voluntarily put myself in. I was more concerned with a) returning the observation request form to my principal and b) setting up a time for her to see science. Because I really like teaching science and think it's fun! So I decided that the best way to approach this Friday afternoon observation adventure was by planning a project! The class made diagrams of the parts of a plant complete with labels and the functions of each part. We did the project to review parts of a plant. We finished all the hard written work on Thursday in preparation for Friday. So Friday, we got to do the fun part... drawing, and gluing, and coloring, and labeling. It went well! It's a little bit hard for me to reflect on the madness of the activity because it was chatty Friday afternoon madness, but I think it was nice. I know it wasn't perfect, but lessons rarely are. I wanted my principal to see chaos. And although I obviously want to impress her, I also want her to see me as the teacher that I truly am. I am not perfect, and I'm perfectly okay with that. The students and I get to grow and learn together :) 

Wow, that got a lot longer than I expected. Oops! I guess that's what happens when you're passionate about something. And although teaching has been harder than I expected, and frustrating, and exhausting, and confusing all at the same time, it's incredibly rewarding. The good times and days outweigh the negatives. So there's me being sappy for you!

Time for some fun stuff. Enjoy the journal entries... The prompt was to "write what you would do if you had a secret valentine." 

 Typical boy. 

"Daddy would pound him into the ground" Sounds promising to your future suitors...

"ahh, young love blossoming in the savannah!" Name that movie quote? Anyone?

It's Lion King. Still my favorite movie of all time. 

 There was also this winning answer in our weekly reading test... don't worry. He got credit for it. 

Finally some Valentine's Day pictures. It was a full out, heart shaped, sugared up day of madness, but the kids had fun and that's what counts. I was also very fortunate to have awesome parent volunteers!
 How cute is B's Valentine's Day box?! Her mom said that B simply "had to make it for Miss Specht!" I thought it was a HOOT! haha :)  

 Candy mitten race. 

 Valentine's Bingo

Minute to win it conversation heart stack. Sweet, simple, and oh so entertaining! 

As for my own Valentine's weekend, it started off watching my baby sis perform at state gymnastics. She's only a freshman, and I was so happy to watch her on beam, floor, and vault. She makes me very proud :) (Don't worry middle sissy, you definitely do too!) I spent actual Valentine's day with one of my best friends! Ash came up for the weekend which was awesome because Cody had to work. We road tripped, had entirely too much chocolate, watched some BCU track, met up with old friends, picked out bridesmaid dresses (YES!), laughed, laughed some more and had an all around amazing time. It was busy, but so so great! 

Ash and chocolate. Two of my all time favorite things!

By the time Ash left and Cody was finally done working,  I was ready to spend some quality time with him! Unfortunately that time ended up being in the clinic. My poor little fiancé was in the clinic twice last week for flu. It was awful for him to feel so bad and awful that I felt helpless to make things any better. So like a loving fiancé, I did things like this.... 

Created an oh-so-informal save the date and documented his time feeling miserable. Finally, I left town! You're welcome honey :). Okay, so I actually felt really bad on skipping town while Cody was so sick, but I had long ago made plans with two college friends to be in SC while one was visiting from Arizona. We had an awesome time together. It was hard to believe that we'd been apart for so long because things felt so normal. Within minutes (seriously) we were mostly caught up on nine months of time apart. EEK! It's crazy to think that it' been that long since we graduated! Anyway, here are some pictures to commemorate the night. As they say, if you didn't instagram it, did it even happen? I'm happy to say that YES, yes it did.

I'm also happy to say that I get to see these stinkers again in just 144 short days as my personal attendants! Can you believe it?! I know time is just going to fly by until then! I often think back to just how crazy life has been especially in this past year. While I'll spare you from yet another sappy recap, I can't believe that's it's less than 5 months until the big day. Cody and I have been somewhat (okay, seriously) slacking on our wedding planning, but we've established our big important details and the bridesmaids will, in fact, NOT be going naked. So I'm pretty proud of that.... now it's time to clothe those groomsmen. Hmmm... Maybe I will have better news on that next time!

Until then,

Peace, love, and pure happiness,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Life

Hey there blog friends!

Ready for the ramblings of an exhausted, emotional, overly sarcastic teacher? I've missed blogging and although I don't have anything really logical to say, I might as well just update ya on life!

First for school.
School has been kind of blah lately. I am planning fun stuff, like activities for today, which was the 100th day of school. The kids have interesting perceptions of how their lives will be at 100. Ha. Mostly though, the kids are seemingly "over it." And by "it" I mean everything. They hardly even want to play our class games anymore. They are constantly talking and it's driving me nuts. I don't want to take away recesses, nor do I want to spend my planning time sitting with kids but the rudeness of talking has GOT to stop. Wish me luck. The bonus fun news with my kids is that we made a bet on the superbowl. Haha! The bet includes the following: the winning team betters get to chew gum (provided by Miss Specht), line up first (all day), and get full out bragging rights (for a week). Knowing that I am clearly cheering for the Seahawks, 17 of my students chose to bet on them. 6 brave souls bet on the Patriots. 1 student opted out of the bet. Monday should be a fun time!

Now for things that are NOT school. Because who even likes that grown up, responsible stuffs. anyway.... on to wedding plans! Cody's words, "We're gonna get maaawwwwiedddd!" And it's true!

Here are the things we have DONE:
Church booked
Reception location booked
Dress bought... and arrived!
Shoes ordered (or I can't alter the dress)
DJ booked
Cake baker booked
Florist on lock
Swatches for bridesmaid dress colors ordered. Regency? Or grape? Uhhmm?
Guest list planned
Save the dates sent (although we opted not to send to the entire guest list)
Budget made... and so far adhered to
Limo booked
Marriage retreat weekend booked
Photographer booked
Invitations and programs priced out
Reception music picked
Centerpieces bought
Wedding day schedule sketched out
Bridal shower in the works
Weekend for bachelorette party planned
Diet and workout routine started

LORD. 6 months to go! It's crazy!

Still on the to do list (in the near future):
Register... once we figure out how/what we want/need
Book honeymoon

Any advice on those two items would be highly appreciated! I was very lucky to have a whole day and night with just me and my momma last weekend. We finally got to go through all sorts of wedding stuff, talk, and just be together. It was the greatest thing. Life gets too busy so quickly. In addition to all of my new years goals (see: New Year, New Blog Post) I'm trying to keep life in the moment. Which is super challenging when I'm constantly planning for the future.... literally with my job and personal life. But last weekend was an amazing time to just be with my mom, and the rest of my family when they eventually showed up :). It goes faster than you think!

And with that, I'll leave you with my musical selections for the night. They are surprises, so choose a picture or two and click on them to find out which songs have been the soundtrack to my life lately.

The glass slipper song has had me in tears twice in the past week. Thanks for that surprise, radio.

 The thought bubble song was introduced to my by my roommate. Beautiful choreography accompanied by sweet lyrics...

I catch myself singing along to this galaxy song every morning.

The feet song has been special to me since it was first released.

Finally, the bird song is a classic I get stuck in my head from time to time and that came up while discussing wedding reception music...

I hope you took some time to enjoy my own personal musical interlude. Until next time readers...

Peace, love, and good music,

Monday, January 12, 2015

Creative Blog Post Name

Hello again faithful blog readers! Honestly, I am (very pleasantly) surprised at the number of avid readers I have. You guys are the best and you are inspiring me to write more :) Hopefully you enjoy tonight's blog... the rambling addition.

As you know, I was pretty sick for the last few days. I had strep (boo) and even had to stay home from school on Friday (yay! Don't tell the kids I said that though!). Anyway, in my time off I thought a lot about blogging, but stopped myself multiple times. Why? I thought to myself, "Self, you have nothing interesting to blog about." But then today I was reading hilarious things from my second graders (see below :)) and thought to myself, "Self, you don't need a concrete, monumental reason to blog." Because to tell the truth, life isn't always monumental. And thank goodness because that would be exhausting. So here (if you continue to read...) are the ramblings.

In no particular order (thanks for continuing to read... you die hard, you. I like you.):

My kids are far more attached to NFL football than I anything I can remember being attached to in elementary school. There are students in my class who come to school on Monday and journal about every game from the weekend and how happy/sad they are about the Packers/Saints/Patriots/Broncos/Cowboys/Seahawks winning/losing. Seriously! I have one student who came to school all down in the dumps today because the Broncos lost over the weekend. And NO I did not rub it in his face (although I did really want to tease him). This student told me he's pretty bummed because he's worried that Peyton Manning is going to retire. Whoa. Then he says the Broncos are going to have to get another really good quarterback or he might have to start cheering for another team. I encouraged him to come to the blue and green side. #gohawks. So I thought that was kind of interesting....

Next, my parents got me this really cool fitness bracelet thing for Christmas. The real name is Samsung Gear Fit. It's this awesome little watch/bracelet with a touch screen. It "Samsung Gear Fit SM-R3500ZKAXAR Fitness Watch: Monitors your exercise and sleep habits with this Samsung watch that features accelerometer, gyro and heart rate sensors provide helpful fitness data. A Bluetooth 4.0 + LE interface allows pairing with select devices, so you can receive SNS, call, e-mail and app notifications." And yes, I copied that straight off of a website. Basically it syncs to my phone and gives me the capability to utilize all kinds of fitness-y options.... like a pedometer. Which is how I know that I walked just over 3 miles at work today! I also get text alerts via little vibrations... which I discovered while the kids were working. (Thanks Cody!) It's really kind of cool and I'm super excited to use it for running... once it's warm enough to run outside again. Because let's be honest: I'm no longer a collegiate athlete and hence, no longer some crazy die-hard runner who will brave arctic temperatures 6x a week all in the name of training....

Although I really do miss being a college athlete. I miss everything about it. Especially the smoking hot bod (KIDDING! Okay.. not entirely). I really miss the camaraderie.. and YES, I had to look up the spelling of that word. There is no equivalent to having people at your side who share your same passion and desires, who love you, support you, share in your physical and mental struggles and goals, know all the drama, know what it takes, and (more than anything else) believe in you 110%. After 15+ years of identifying myself as an athlete, as part of a team I guess I'm (still) adjusting to life without it. Shoutout to all of you, my teammates. Especially BCUTF & BCUVB. You've got a special place in my heart.

BLECK. Enough of that drama. Seriously, even I didn't expect it to get that sappy.

Back to school for a hot second. Today was the first full day of the first full week following Christmas break. Woof. I realize that I spent about 67 hours this weekend lying in a horizontal position sleeping and watching Law and Order SVU, but SHOOT I forgot how hard teaching is. Maybe hard isn't quite the right word... more like exhausting. Today while teaching I was reminded of a popular comedian who my dad loves. While describing what it's like to have four kids he says, "just imagine you're drowning... and then someone hands you a baby." (You can catch the video by clicking on the crying baby picture. You're welcome) I felt like that saying could also sum up teaching. Except for there are 25 of them and a whole lot more paperwork.

Teaching does have it's perks though! Those darn kids can be hilarious. For example... check out these nice writings I found today. First of all, we took a selling pretest this morning over words with silent(ish) diagraphs (kn, wr, gh, and ph). Pictured is # 6 wrap. Such a valiant effort... I really did laugh out loud.  

 Now this next picture is kind of tricky, but there were a lot of names included in the journal entry, and this particular student tends to write a LOT. So here's the gist. Said student attended a party to celebrate a baby's bathtisom. Aka baptism. But since they really do douse those little ones in water, I do think that possibly we should rename this sacrament to represent what it reminds us of... hence: Bathtism. Consider it! :)

Finally, I've included one picture of a sparse looking bulletin board. I know it's not finished yet, but I'm so excited for the kids to pitch in and make it complete! The Olaf was hand drawn by yours truly and Cody is responsible for all things pink and heart shaped (seriously!). The kids are going to write book reviews on white paper and cut their reviews out in puddle shapes (see where I'm going with this?), complete with the melted snowman parts (eyes, nose, stick limbs). Look for a completed update of the board later. And, as always, thanks pinterest!

Moving right along. I think it's time to do some blog shoutouts. It's been a while! (Except for the one to BCUTF and BCUVB. Just ignore that.)

To my financé: First and foremost, I need to give a ton of credit, love, and thanks to you, Cody. For taking care of me when I'm sick, for cooking when I can't (that's all the time-I'm a horrible cook.), for doing all the manual work at school, for going outside of your comfort zone to please me, for always putting me first, and for making me feel happy and loved every single day, thank you. You da real MVP. I can't imagine a better half to my dreamteam.

To my fam: Ma, Daddy, La Reg, Cerm... You already know. I love you guys so, so, so, so, so much.

To my future fam: Inlaws. It's a joyous, weird thing. Thank you for putting up with my never-ending sass, for advising me, and for welcoming me into the family. JT, you know none of this would be possible without you. Thanks for never giving up. I guess my mom was right when she said, "if it's meant to be, it will be." You always knew that, brother...(in law). Still weird!

To my colleagues: I know that many of you read the blog (creepy or dedicated? haha). I want you all to know that you make a huge difference at school. I feel more and more comfortable everyday because of the way I'm treated and accepted. It's an amazing thing to be absorbed into a community and I've really been feeling the love lately. For that, for your encouragement, advice, and friendship, I thank all of you.

To my readers: I know I joke all the time about how dedicated you guys are and how I "can't believe" that anyone even visits this blog anymore. But honestly, I am incredibly lucky and blessed to be surrounded with the sweetest, most caring people. There's a chance I could dedicate an entire blog to writing "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon" and you people would still come here to check. It's amazing and very much appreciated. Thanks for giving me someone to ramble to. I love you readers... is that weird?

Alright, that's all for now.

Until next time...

Peace, love, and warm fuzzies,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Blog Life is SICK....

... oh wait, that's just me. With strep. So that certainly puts a damper on this whole "back to school" thing. Also, on the whole "new year, new me" workout and diet spree. Although I'm confident that the soreness in my throat will prevent me from over-eating (or ya know, eating at all) so maybe that's the silver lining. Haha!

So here's the story of my life currently:
Monday- Work day, early out
Tuesday- School, late start
Wednesday- No school due to negative gajillion degree temperatures. I'm agreeing with Kat on this one.. The temperature should never involve a math sign. Gross.
Thursday- School, early out,  due to the snow blowing across these flat, vast, fertile plains that we Midwesterners call home is creating 0% visibility. So that's cool.
Friday- Sick day, no school.

It's madness people. The lucky thing is (although I am burning up with a low grade fever under my covers) as long as I'm horizontal I feel okay. As soon as I get up, bad news bears. Head rush! It's like a flash back to the tired, tired student teaching life. Funny that it's my actual everyday life now.

Well my motivation to blog today has finally run dry.

Until next time...
Peace, love, and penicillin,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year, New Blog Post

Happy New Year blog readers!

The month of December flew by in classroom 222 and apartment 212. I apologize (again) for not being a better blogger! After a whole month I struggle to even remember what has happened since I last blogged. The kiddos were wild with excitement leading up to Christmas, but it was SO FUN to watch them interact and especially to read their journals. At 7 and 8, they are just so sweet and so pure of heart! Many students brought in gifts for me... which was crazy and awesome. My kids (and parents) were so thoughtful. I was honestly overwhelmed with gratitude... and with writing thank you notes :) ha! Break has been nice, and while I'm not exactly looking forward to working, I can't wait to get back to school and hear all about the kids' Christmas break. I know mine was wonderful! After a couple of crazy, crazy days filled with Christmas activities and one heck of a party (thanks to awesome parent volunteers) it was finally time for a much needed break.

Break this year was filled with bonus cheer and Christmasing for two reasons. The first reason is that I have bonus family to celebrate with! Fiancé and I rotated through our families, eating, drinking, playing cards, and being oh-so-very-merry. Crazy to think that this time next year we will be celebrating our first Christmas together as officially married! AHH!

The second reason that break was filled with bonus cheer is because my best friend and LDR (Long Distance Relationship) Kat came to visit. It was crazy awesome to see her after a year and a half... it's hard to believe it had been that long! Kat and I were roomies in college... unfortunately we could no longer be roomies when she graduated and moved back to Nevada. However, we maintain a loving long distance friendship filled with random text messages, lengthy late night phone calls, and the highly anticipated pen pal letters between our second grade classes. Needless to say, our week together was filled with love, laughter, puns, glitter, naps, movies, cuddles, late nights, wedding planning, and other best friend shenanigans.

One of the super awesome things about having Kat home for the holidays is that she got to spend some quality time with me and all the important people in my life. She's pretty much an honorary sister in my family and greeted everyone with smiles and hugs. She also (finally) got to meet Cody. Words can't explain how happy I was to see two of my favorite people in the whole entire world get to know each other. There was never a dull moment. Between LDR, fiancé, my family, sisters, and friends, we were BUSY. You might have seen us...
Around Y-town,
At a Skyforce game,
At Starbucks,
Golfing (in playing card version),
Cuddling on couches and beds,
Snowboarding (or at least attempting to) at Great Bear,
At Hobby Lobby... covered in glitter and crafting for the wedding,
Trying on Bridesmaid dresses,
Eating out downtown,
Bar hopping for NYE,
Wandering around Old Market and Dundee in Omaha,
Looking incredibly homeless and/or dressed to the nines.

So did you see us? If you answered mayyybe, I wouldn't be surprised!

So now that we've caught up on the past, it's time to look forward to the future. I know it's totally cliché to post reflecting back on the year that was and looking forward to another bright, shiny year. Now is the time that most are forming in their minds (and many posting on social media) new goals for 2015. So here's what I've got to add :)

2014 was a tremendous, huge, and challenging year filled with big highs, lows, and changes for me. A quick recap... I finished my last indoor track season by competing at NAIA indoor nationals. I applied, interviewed for, and accepted my very first teaching job. I completed my last semester as an undergraduate student and as a track athlete. I moved and said goodbye to some really amazing friends who held my hand throughout 4 years of growth and maturation in college (aaaand cue the tears here!). I worked the summer away. I became a first time renter after looking for an apartment. I cleaned out, organized, and planned my classroom while starting to train for teaching. I took graduate classes (just when I thought I was done with that stuff for a while!). I, we :), got engaged! We set a date (July 18th), booked the church, reception, rooms, DJ, photographer, wedding party... What an absolutely crazy year. I thought I was honestly going to lose my mind for a while there, but 2014, we did it! And I couldn't have done it without YOU all... that's right, friends, family, co-workers, random supporters and readers. You too weigh into this equation of my life, so thank you!

As for life in 2015... of course I have some goals.
High on the goal list is happiness. And I know that might sound silly, but that's what (I think) everyone truly hopes and works for. Whether that happiness comes from losing weight, buying a new car, forming new relationships, or whatever, happiness is always the goal. And while I really can't complain about the overwhelming happiness of 2014 (seriously, so awesome), I am looking forward to more happiness in 2015. I don't want to bore your with my in-depth, 12-step, miracle-plan... because let's face it, I don't have one. But I hope to become a stronger, happier person in all aspects of my life; especially through faith, fitness, and communication. I believe that road to success in this goal of happiness will never end. Of course, I also expect to encounter road blocks, bumps, and bruises, but nothing that can't be overcome with faith, family, and friendships.

Another goal of mine is to embrace change. Change has never been easy for me... and it's something that I didn't recognize in myself until my mother pointed it out to me. (Thanks, Ma.) Anyway, 2014 brought many changes and with our  marriage on the horizon the future is bright but unknown, and change is inevitable. I hope, pray, and challenge myself to embrace change this year.

So say a little prayer for me and keep me in your thoughts blog readers. I hope that positivity fills us to the brim throughout this year, even in the dark times. May each darkness hold a silver lining, a lesson, a positive change and growth.

That's about enough for tonight I think. Until next time...

Peace, love, and high hopes,