Tuesday, August 30, 2011


i am slammed.
meeting after meeting after training after training after meeting.
and i don't think that ever goes away. :)
it's all good stuff.
but my brain is on OVERLOAD to say the least.
so let's just clear that up before i start typing completely unrelated thoughts into one blog post.
so i'm fried.
got it.

the other day i sent lisa a message that said i am trying to be the BEST mom.
the BEST teacher.
the BEST wife.
the BEST friend.
the BEST sister/daughter/aunt/neighbor/co-worker/house cleaner...oh wait...NOT that one. :)
and really, in the end i am failing at all of them.
so i'm finding that there really is something to the saying "Something's gotta give".
it does.
i have to focus.
so last week it was 2.
teacher and mom. (paul was out of town...wife got put on back burner.)
which basically meant i was terrible at all other things.
and let's be honest...i certainly wasn't THE BEST at the 2 i put as my priority.
but they were my focus.
and i made it through the week alive.

i talked to a friend one night for 2 1/2 hours after the kids went to bed.
she informed me that by the looks of my FB page and my blog, i looked like i had it "all together."
pretty sure i laughed out loud at that one.
let's clear this up.
laughable, i tell ya!
i compare how i feel to be completely submerged in water with just my two nostrils above the surface.
barely staying a float.
barely breathing.
but trying to keep it all together for my students and my kids.
so god help you if you are my dear friend and 'get' to talk to me for 2 1/2 hours one night after my kids are in bed. HA!

moving on.
i LOVE the song "Moves Like Jagger".
for real.
can help but dance to it.
it's in my head *all the time*.
hundred of times a day.
and it makes me smile.
and kind of dance when i walk.


speaking of walking.
i have a problem.
i do believe it is called plantar fasciitis.
this morning i wanted to cut my foot off and just get it over with.
but by mid-morning it was much better.
kinda sounds like i'll feel the same way tomorrow morning.
can't wait.

the house was out of control.
paul got home on friday evening.
we were all DONE.
the kids were beyond tired after their first week of school.
*I* was beyond tired after my first week of school.
and ayla had the mother of all meltdowns.
which in turn lead to the MOTHER of the mother of all meltdowns from me.
good times.
i think paul was scared.
wondering what in the world happened while he was gone!
good news is that i alluded to it on FB on friday and today is tuesday. i friend called and asked about it and i couldn't even remember what in the world she was talking about.
what meltdown?
there was a meltdown?
OH YEAH....that's right....there WAS that one night. with the 2 biggest meltdowns ever recorded in the world.
but we're over that.
i totally forgot.
see?? it's all good!

moving on.
we had no order to our lives for like a month.
laundry was piling up.
we were eating eggs every single night.
i couldn't take it....coming home and not having a plan.
so sunday night i came up with our menu for the month.
nothing fancy.
but a plan.
got groceries for the week.
and we are eating normal again this week.
it's been nice.
we are having THIS tomorrow.
because damn it...i need some comfort food.

and guess what.
we have our annual APPLE PICKING trip this weekend.
and it's a 3 day weekend!!
so excited.
that's an understatement.
a long weekend in wisconsin.
happy dance is in my future!


ayla is doing awesome at daycare.
there has not been a tear.
not one.
she gives me a hug and kiss and she's off.
it's made that part of my life much much easier.
i drop her off around 7:30 am and paul picks her up around 3:30.
he gets home with her just as the kids get off the bus and i'm home about 30 minutes later.
by the time i get home the kids have their reading done and if they have homework that is finished.
so we have several hours at night just to BE.
and that is what we are doing.
eating supper.
and then going to bed.
once they are in bed, i pull out my work.
has anyone ever told you teaching is not a 40-hr/week job?
i'm here to tell you it is NOT.
especially as a first year teacher.

i love my class.
LOVE them.
deep love that is so unexpected.
my FB status the other day read...
"Unexpected surprise #1 during my 1st year of teaching: I love my students. All of them. A deep "i-will-fight-for-you-no-matter-what" kind of love. Didn't expect that. Knew I would enjoy them, but not that I would feel so protective of their feelings and their right to receive an excellent education. I've finally had some time to reflect this morning and this kept popping in my head as my biggest surprise so far."
and it's true. totally unexpected, but happy. i'm so glad i get to fight for them. i'm good at that. i can DO that. makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. thank you god.

did i mention i like the song "Moves Like Jagger"?
i do.
it's running through my head as i type this.

my husband is awesome, supportive, encouraging and amazing.
i could not do this without him.
could NOT.
i miss talking to him so much during the day, but i love him even more.

my kids, friends, family and students are awesome.
i love them.
i am thankful.
so so grateful.
but MAN...i do NOT have it all together. :)

the end.

i still need help meeting my $1000 goal!
please go HERE to donate and be the change!!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Today was my first day of really following a schedule and starting into the curriculum at school.
It was a good day.
Paul is gone until Friday.
I had to take ALL the kids into school.
I drove through and grabbed supper and brought my computer with a movie.
The kids ate and watched a movie while I did lesson plans and made a million copies.

I'm thinking we may still be in our honeymoon phase, but man...I am really loving my class!
They are a great group of kids.
We started classroom jobs today and they took them very seriously.
I had them fill out job applications and apply for the positions. :)
Of course they all wanted to be teacher's assistant.

I started using the book nook today as well.
5 kids are assigned to that area each week.
And there is something about seeing your vision come to fruition.
It worked just as I planned.
They were so comfy and relaxed during our AR reading time.
It was so quiet in there you could hear a pin drop.
For a full 30 minutes.
At one point I looked around and seriously got teary.
"I am a teacher."
"This is my classroom."
"Could I possibly be more blessed?"
It was awesome.

Not an easy job.
I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off most of the day.
But I'm hoping I start to have more and more of those moments of pure thankfulness and calm.
Because it really is amazing.

(But seriously...WHY CAN'T I SLEEP???)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The photo wall...

We moved into our house last October.
I KNEW I wanted to create a photo wall on this big wall in my living room.
But it wasn't really on the top of my priority list.
We had much bigger fish to fry.
Even though we weren't going to do it right away, I was still dreaming.

Earlier this spring, I had an open house benefiting The Adventure Project.
At the open house, I purchased a vinyl decal for my wall through Uppercase Living.
It read *LIVE simply * SPEAK kindly * LOVE generously.
We pretty much declared this our family mission statement.
I knew I wanted to incorporate it into our photo wall.

So I started saving some of my favorite photos in a file on my computer.
I cropped them down to squares.
I decided on 16 photos.
I ordered 10x10's from WHCC.com.
**When selecting finishing items, I chose the styrene board for mounting.
They ended up being around $7.50/print.
I think they are EXCELLENT quality. I was so happy when they arrived in the mail.
I order from WHCC regularly, and love them.

next, i had to figure out how to attach them to the wall.
I decided to use 3M command strips.
They are kind of like velcro and they aren't supposed to damage your walls.
They photos are pretty light, so I didn't think I needed anything too super heavy duty.
Plus, I figure I will be replacing these photos with updated ones pretty regularly, so I wanted something easy to switch out.
They worked perfectly!
(just mak sure you use 2 strips per photo.  i started with one and woke up the next morning to find the photos all laying on the ground! 2 works great though!!)

Now, you must know that Paul hung them. And he is pretty particular.
I am NOT.
We are a good team. :)

He has one of those laser levels.
And we decided to put one of the 3M command strips on the level to hold it in place for each row.
Did I mention Paul is also GENIUS?? He is.
It worked awesome!
If you look in the about photo, you can see it attached to the wall.

And then it was time to apply the Uppercase Living decal above the pictures.
And here's the final product...

I am IN LOVE with it.
I sat and stared at it for like an hour after we finished.
I'm not kidding.
The kids LOVE it, too.

It ended up being about $150 for the mounted photos and I THINK around $40 for the decal. I can't remember for sure on that though. Plus, the command strips were like $10. So we were at $200 exactly for the whole project. And I can update it for as little as $7 on a regular basis.

So fun.
You should do it.

**I downloaded the ROES option from WHCC and used that for ordering. When you become a client of theirs, you also get 5 free 8x10's. Added bonus. But it can be kind of confusing at first. I'm sure you could order the pictures with that type of mounting from lots of different online photo places. Just FYI.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekly update?!?

i'm thinking i may just have to start doing weekly updates. at least until i get this life part under control. it's been a busy, wonderful, stressful, exciting, scary week.
a little rundown on what's going on....

she started full-time daycare on wednesday. i will be dropping her off every morning and paul will pick her up every afternoon. starting after labor day she will be going to preschool 2 mornings a week with 3 other little girls from her daycare. our daycare provider will be transporting her to and from preschool. she really enjoyed her first three days. i'm a little anxious about this first full week though. ugh. she has been SO tired. and she says she loves it. we shall see.

the kids started back to school on thursday. lani hasn't had much to say about school other than she likes it. :) she's so funny. pretty easy going. she likes her teacher. so that's good. she is growing like a WEED and all she wants to eat is banana berry smoothies. seriously. like 3 a day. hard to say no when it's all good stuff in there. she's still love love loving horseback riding lessons. asks about them every day.

brigg was super excited about heading back to school. there are 2 male teachers in 4th grade at his school, so he knew he was getting a man again. that made him happy. he has one of his friends from last year in his class. he is in a small gap of having NO sports right now. i'm loving it. we don't have to be ANYWHERE. it's great. he just seems so OLD lately. but still *my boy*. he defends me and is loyal to me no.matter.what. i love it. he's so protective. if he knows i'm stressed he'll just walk up and give me a hug. "it's ok mom." love him.

paul passed his tests to become a pest inspector. that's super exciting. we are just waiting on getting his license in the mail. he has been busy busy busy with inspections. the realtors love him. (of course). and after almost all of his inspections he gets an email from his clients saying how great he is. (again...of course). he loves doing them, but it does make for long long days as he does them after a full day of work. last week he literally had FIVE to do. he was exhausted. oh...and this is stressing me out...he is leaving for a week this week. ugh. not awesome timing. but we'll figure it out.

uuummmm...i've been fairly focused the past 2 weeks on school. meeting after meeting after meeting. piles and piles and piles of paperwork. lots of sorting to do this weekend. i have been in survival mode, but i feel like this week i'll be coming out of it. at school at least. at home is another issue. i haven't been to the grocery store in ages. we are trying to not waste the last of our tomatoes, so we've been canning after i get home from work until midnight. i haven't really slept for a couple weeks either. but my goal is to get my classroom organized this week as far as filing, etc, and THEN work on my house. oh...but i DID finish painting our bedroom...FINALLY. it was tore up for at least 6 weeks while i stripped wallpaper and scrubbed walls. it feels so great to have it all finished. we LOVE it.

lots of adjustments happening around here. but i think i see a light? maybe? it's been difficult to deal with missing back-to-school night with my own kids. i don't think i'm going to be able to be at ayla's first day of preschool on sept 6th. i am tearing up just thinking that. so obviously things are not perfect. but we'll keeping pushing through. growing and changing and evolving as people and as a family.

and for now, weekly updates might even be pushing it. but i do update my facebook regularly. you can always find me there. quick and easy, straight from my phone. simple is the name of the game.

yay for change. yay for evolving.

(oh...and while i have your attention, i am trying to reach my $1000 goal for the adventure project. go HERE to read about it and donate. i'm not even close, people. please help!! :))

Monday, August 15, 2011

More Adventure Project stuff....

I'm here.
I'm alive.
Anxious, excited, scared, overwhelmed.
All great words to describe me right now.
BUT...I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget that my "stuff" is just so petty compared to the big problems of the world. I don't want to get wrapped up in me and forget about the big picture.
So i'm back with a fundraising page of my own.
I have set a $1000 goal to help support the women of Uganda who are rising up as female Community Health Promoters.
and help work towards the 170,000 goal set by Jody Landers a couple weeks ago.
it's a big deal.
it's so much more than my anxiety and my fear.
and i so greatly desire to BE THE CHANGE.
join us.
and THANK YOU in advance. it means so much to me...

Monday, August 8, 2011

and why wouldn't she??

oh yes she did.
she brought her fairy and princess dresses to the mountains.
why wouldn't she?

and her fairy dress MAY be getting a little small for her.
ya think??

oh ayla...
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fort Collins

we spent our last two days of vacation in fort collins.
i have two words...dream city.
we love it there.
LOVE it there.
want to live there.
for real.
we didn't want to come home.
so we spent most of our time there trying to convince our children that this would be the perfect place for them to go to college.
we got LANI to agree.
of course...because they have an equestrian school at CSU.
brigg is still on the fence.
he says CSU is his #2 or #3 college choice.
yes...he is already numbering his college choices.
#1 just happens to be TCU.
i'm doing everything i can to sabotage that choice.
CSU is a much better option for US. :)
i'm so mad i didn't take more photos.
we even toured New Beligium Brewery and i forgot my camera.
i took some photos on my phone though.
i just haven't had time to sort through all the pics.

anyway...all that to say...WE HEART FORT COLLINS.
aaahhhh...wish we were back there right now.
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Spent the day canning...

we had lots-o-veggies waiting for us when we returned home.
paul was anxious to get them canned, so guess what we did today...

we really hadn't planned on it.
we had NO IDEA what we were doing.
paul started boiling the beets while i ran to the store to get all kinds of crazy things for canning.

i had gotten all our jars from a friend whose mom was done using hers.
i got our canning pot from another friend.
and i had bought Tattler Reusable Canning Lids a while back.
so we were ready to go.
we started at 10:00am.

we canned beets and onions, black bean and corn salsa and banana peppers.
it doens't sound like much.
but it took us 7 hours.
i'm not even kidding.

and that doesn't include the clean-up.
but it was totally fun.
we drank mike's hard lemonade and worked in the kitchen all day.
the kids helped off and on.
and we ended up with this...

(minus our two big quarts of banana peppers).
we are so proud of ourselves! :)
hoping to can LOTS of tomatoes next week.
they are started to turn red.

oh...and with leftover tomatoes we made brushetta.
and with leftover jalepenos we made jalepeno poppers.
plus cucumbers and bell peppers in dip for supper.
good, productive day. :)

now i go back to work tomorrow.
all day training and then i'm back full-time thursday.
here's to a good week...
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Saturday, August 6, 2011


Spent 7 hours in my classroom with just my mom.
It was awesome! Got SO MUCH accomplished! Moved furniture, worked on bulletin boards, sorted books, and mom sewed a valance for my very bare window. Before we finished Paul stopped by with the girls and he hung my valance for me.
It has definitely been a family affair.
So so thankful for all the help and support. Couldn't have gotten through today without my mom. Hope I can be this for MY kids some day.
Taking a deep breath tonight and feeling like there was progress made today.
Maybe I'll be ready by the 18th?!?!
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Friday, August 5, 2011


we are home.
so much for leisurely days in the mountains.
no more crisp mountain air and greasy hair.
i am in 100% PANIC MODE.
for real.
i felt little waves of it on our trip.
but i am very very good at pushing it to the back of my mind.
a master.
i thoroughly, 100% enjoyed every single second of our trip.
i'd get this wave of "holy crap...i have so much to do when i get home!"" now and then, but it never lasted more than 30 seconds.
and i'm glad i have that ability.
but now we are home.
i can honestly say that i have never ever ever ever EVER unpacked all my suitcases the minute i walked in the door.
i did tonight.
they are all empty.
clean clothes put away and dirty clothes in the laundry room.
and yikes...lots of dirty clothes!

we were driving home and my mind was spinning.
right before we left i had the kids trying on fall clothes to take along with us and NONE of it fit.
everything was too small.
i was thinking, "gosh, i'm going to have to take them school shopping before they go back!"
yeah...i have 2 free days before i'm back to work full-time.
2 days.
so i was scrolling through facebook on my phone and realized it was tax-free shopping weekend.
i knew we would be passing our outlet mall in 3 hours so i made an executive decision.
we were ALL going to stop and power shop for shoes and jeans on our way home.
which was hysterical.
because everyone was seriously still in their pajamas at this point.
this is how i work, people.
we did it.
kids all got shoes and pants.
AND...did you know you could use your AAA card to shop at tanger outlet mall?
i didn't until today.
got an extra 10% off.

we pulled in the driveway and unloaded the car.
i unloaded all the suitcases and put them away.
we pick the dog up between 7 and 9 am tomorrow morning.
i am meeting a co-worker at the school at 9 to let me in the building.
i am working ALL. DAY. LONG.
i need to feel settled.
i have an all day training on monday.
i have tuesday and wednesday "off" (but do have dr. appts)
and then i start new teacher orientation on thursday and friday.
all teachers are back full-time on monday.
can you say PANIC?!?!?!?!

it was an awesome week.
hoping i have time to document before i'm drowing in the sea of teaching.
and pretty sure i'm not smarter than a 5th grader, so i have a lot to do to prepare.
i just keep hearing in my brain...
"back to life...back to re-al-i-ty."
we are home.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

oh ayla.

Note the sign behind her.
No idea what we're going to do with her.
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The Adventure Project

While we were up on the mountain, The Adventure Project launched it's latest campaign.
It has to do with HEALTH in Uganda.
As always, I am blown away by the co-founders of this organization.
They are amazing.
They have been working hard to get this campaign launched and it is incredible.
Watch this to learn a little more about it...

Uganda's poor recount how Living Goods has changed their lives and improved their health. from Living Goods on Vimeo.

There are a couple ways you can help support this effort.
1. BUY a bag - $42. Each tote sponsors one medical bag for a healthcare promoter in Uganda.
2. INVEST in a female health promoter - Each woman cares for 700 people in her community. Any amount would benefit Living Goods.
3. JOIN Jody - This is huge. You can read Jody's story HERE. Of all The Adventure Project's campaigns, this one has been the most personal for Jody. She has decided she wants to raise $1 for every mother in Africa last year who died during childbirth. That is $170,000. HUGE goal. But I believe she can do it. Will you consider helping out? Many are donating directly to her page in honor of each child they birthed, or each hour they were in labor. Go check it out and follow along at the bottom. You can even create your own fundraising page if you choose.

I just have to reiterate how much I believe in The Adventure Project. In the women running it. In their way of viewing "GIVING". It's not charity. It is empowerment. It is CHANGE. I love it. I believe it. And I hope you seriously consider joining us!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rockies v Phillies

we made it down the mountain.
dropped off some things at my aunt and uncle's house, EVERYONE showered in 20 minutes flat.
quickly out the door to make it to the 1:10 Rockies game.
this was a big deal.
it was our first MLB game with the entire family.
lani and ayla's first ever.
we were nervous.
and if you had spent any time with ayla over the past couple weeks, you would have been too.
she has been in RARE form.
but it was a success!!
SO SO SO fun!
we made it through the entire game.
not one complaint.

and we drove directly from coors field to ft collins.
quick supper and swimming.
kids are SOUND asleep.
we are in REAL BEDS.
we are CLEAN.
it feels good.
it has been an excellent combo of nature and camping and city and comfort.
tomorrow we tour New Belgium Brewery at 4:30.
that's our only plan.
other than convincing our children that CSU is the perfect college for all of them to attend. :)
and now i'm going to sleep.
in a bed.
with air conditioning.
and clean pj's.
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