Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Starting all over...AGAIN

So I spent 2 years teaching 5th grade.
I LOVED it. Truly. In love with 5th grade.
But the opportunity arose for me to teach some STEM classes to middle school students.
And well...my ADHD kicked in.
My need for a new challenge.
So in I jumped.
Both feet.
Super excited about it!!
Design and Modeling as well as ROBOTICS.
Talk about leaving your comfort zone.
Big changes this year.
And I must admit I am drowning a bit.
Barely keeping my nose above water.
But I have the very best, most supportive, amazing family and friends.
Could NOT do this without them.
More to come...I promise.
(and guys! guess WHAT?!? Ayla starts KINDERGARTEN this year!! WHAAAAAT??!)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

School's out for summer...

So I am going to let my iphone pics guide my blog today. they truly are the story of my life. :)
mother's day at my sister's on her screened in porch.
surrounded by my heart...
 GRIT: “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
I want to have grit.
I want to be GRITTY.
I tend to sprint, working on marathon mentality. 
 Oh Ayla.
She is something.
If you follow me on FB or Twitter, you probably read nearly daily of our adventures with Ayla.
She keeps us young...or maybe gives us gray hairs. Either way, life would be boring without her.
We spent a weekend in Storm Lake recently celebrating Haidyn's first birthday.
Ayla has maternal instincts like no other.
Love that...
 We are mid baseball season.
And if nothing else, these boys know how to have fun.
Brigg will be 12 in July.
This pic is the epitome of 11 and 12 year old happiness.
 Thank God my kids are perfect.
No sibling rivalry around here.
(seriously...this is SUPPOSED to be my inspiration board. so much for that...)
 Ayla and I have been spending a lot of time in lawn chairs. Or in bleachers.
I love it a little tiny bit more than Ayla. :)
And actually I love it a whole hell of a lot more WITHOUT Ayla. 
But once in a while we find our happy place together....
(This was my last day as a blond. It was a fun ride. :) But high maintenance. I needed a break!)
 Thank you hair gods for a cosmetologist for a sister.
What would I do without her...
 The last week of school was busy. I had to be gone one afternoon and upon my return I found that Ms. Kathy had asked the kids to write 5 things they learned from me or loved about me. 
Literally cried.
This is why I teach.
And seriously...#4?!?!
Love them...
And this one is from my student who choked on a piece of candy the first half of the school year and I had to do the Heimlich on her. 
For real.
We both thought she was going to die.
One of the scariest moments of my life.
 And Brigg graduated from 5th grade.
It's a big deal.
Next year he will go to middle school.
He received the presidential academic award.
So dang proud of him. 
He is going to kick middle school's butt, no doubt.
 We had field day one of the last days of school.
I love that last week of school.
We get to just love on the kids. Remind them of how much they mean to us. Let them know how much they will be missed.
Especially in 5th grade. They will be leaving the building and moving on to a new part of their journey. What an honor to be a part of making them feel loved and important and missed.

As teachers I think we would all agree that the last day of the school is bittersweet.
And this year it was especially so.
Because this will be my last year teaching in the same building with this amazing group of individuals.
Next year I will be switching positions and moving UP to middle school.
I will be teaching Project Lead the Way to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
At the same middle school as Brigg!
It is super exciting and an incredible opportunity.
The program is in it's first year at the middle school level so I will have a chance to help build this program up. Beyond thankful for the opportunity and SO incredibly excited.
But really.
These people.
 Took the big kids on a 15 mile bike ride the other day.
I think they thought it was for fun.
They didn't realize I was in it to burn some calories. 
I left them in my dust a couple times.
 So Paul had one of the biggest days of his life recently.
If you have know us for any time at all, you know that we have dreamed about owning a Harley.
So it was a dream come true for Paul to be able to get a custom Harley last week.
He designed it.
Selected his own pain colors.
All of it.
And the day we picked it up, I'm pretty sure there was a tear or 2 in his eye. :)

 and could I possibly love this photo anymore? 
The motorcycle with the chubby little Ayla foot on it?
Killing me.

 I was cleaning out my room and came across this.
It was given to me my first day of teaching by an experienced teacher whom I have so much respect for.
And it holds true...
 and after consuming yourself for 180 days, it is necessary to consume some other things as well...
 The first official week of spring break included a trip to Niabi Zoo.
With a couple friends.
Happiness ALL AROUND.
 Oh...I started crossfit.
And I love it.
But is seriously kicks my ass.
Bruises to prove it.
I LOVE it.
 Brigg had pink eye.
Not fun.
Or attractive.
To have green oozing from your eye ball and when it's swollen shut.
 It's finally been warm enough for the kids to swim.
While they swim, I can be found doing this...
 No words.
Oh Ayla...
And no matter what we do, Willow is never far.
She really wanted to play memory.
We are off to a good start this summer.
Lots going on.
We have Brigg's birthday and Camp Cassie and
I will be spending 2 WEEKS in Ames getting certified to teach Project Lead the Way.
Like I said...it's a big deal.
Go big or go home.
Big things happening this year.
All kinds of butterflies thinking about what's to come.
In a good way of course.
I'm ready.
Here's to #summerbreak2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's up with me. (and some links to books.)

Four days of school left with my students. Bittersweet. I love this group of kids. They have been so great to work with. They have allowed me the freedom to try some new and crazy things in the classroom. Things that have completely altered the kind of teacher I am becoming. I could keep this same group of kids for years and be happy! But at the same time, I am so ready to get to summer. Not because I want to spend hours and hours by the pool, but because I can't wait to start planning for my classroom next year! Can't wait to change some things up. Plan on implementing The Daily 5 (for those of you who care!) and have been re-reading THIS BOOK.  It is rocking my world again. I love it! I love Tony Wagner. Such a insightful man with an amazing perspective.

I have been thinking a lot about who I am inside and comparing it with who I am on the outside. How I feel, and how I want to be perceived. My real hopes and dreams compared to what I think SHOULD be my hopes and dreams as a woman. I just downloaded THIS BOOK. Cannot wait to dig in. I've heard great things. I'm hoping it rocks my world as well. Sometimes I feel like my drive and determination needs to be suppressed. I try to hide it. Pretend it's not there. But since re-entering the workforce, it has been bubbling back up to the surface. And I'm not sure where the guilt comes from when thinking about who I am, but it's there. And it's strong. I keep telling myself I was created this way for a reason. And even if I feel like I'm in the minority, I don't think I am.

So I am going back to school to get my masters in Educational Leadership. I will start in the fall. I have been accepted into the program at UNI and I am so excited! It will take 2 years. I will graduate in July of 2015. See? Bubbling to the surface. :) And as I read THIS BOOK the other day, I came across the following quote that was attributed to Joan of Arc before she charged into battle: "I am not afraid. I was born to do this." Loved that. Highlighted, starred, bolded it. I was born to do this. I can feel it. I will not feel guilt. I was created for this. (I am chanting these things. Replacing guilt with truth.)

I think I have a touch of ADHD as well. As I looked through my bookshelf on my kindle, I had to laugh. Here is a sampling....
The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
Alone on the Ice by David Roberts
Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott
The Great Gatsby by  F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Happy long weekend.
May you find your sweet spot and own it. :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lately...in pictures

 The other day I got home from work and I felt awful. I had been sick for a couple days. The sun was shining and I wanted to move my body, but I couldn't. So I sat there, put my feet up and watched the kids work in the garden. :)
I did that.
And it was heavenly. Spring has arrived! We are debating on the garden this year. It is a TON of work. And I could be busy this summer. I have some possible educational opportunities that would force me to be gone a couple of weeks this summer. Brigg is in traveling baseball and that takes up many of our weekends, so we are debating. To garden or not to garden. Who knows. It's cheap therapy...and heaven knows momma could use some cheap therapy! So maybe.
For Christmas Lisa, Erin and I got Donna a girls night. That was 4 months ago. We came through for her this weekend! SO FUN! We all met in Des Moines, got a hotel room, laughed, ate, laughed, had drinks, laughed, danced a little, laughed, hit up a piano bar, laughed, and some of them slept. (This is when I coughed. and coughed. and coughed. and snored. and coughed....awesome when you are sharing a hotel room with 3 others!) But seriously...look at them.  They are amazing. I love them so much. And count myself blessed beyond measure to have them in my life. They are irreplaceable. Truly. 

Willow. What can I say? Laziest dog alive. I love her.
The other day Ayla was at my parents. Brigg was spending the night at a friend's. Paul, Lani and I were supposed to head over and grill out at mom and dad's. Paul was working in the yard, so Lani and I decided to bike over. Those of you who know...we live out of town on the highway. (see last photo...this is our "street") So we had to ride bikes on the highway. And ride about 8 miles. Lani was GIDDY excited. I think she is going to be my girl who loves biking and hiking and kayaking and exploring. Which is crazy. I would have never thought that about her a few years ago. She is quietly risky. We put on camelbacks and hit the road. It was a blast. I didn't have to slow down once for her. She smiled the whole way. And wanted to ride HOME late that night, but NO WAY. No highway bike riding in the dark. She didn't quite understand that. I see lots of fun times in the future with Lani.
Oh Ayla.  That's all I can say. She goes to kindergarten next year. She had kindergarten visit a couple weeks ago. Little miss sassy pants loved it. I think she is going to do great. She adds spice to our life. What would we do without her?? Life would be boring no doubt. Last weekend I was on a committee that set up the Race for the Schools 5K and 1-mile fun run. Brigg signed up for the 5K and Lani the 1 mile. We were talking about it as we walked out the door to the race and the conversation went like this
Brigg: I'm going to do the 3 miles.
Lani: I'm going to do the 1 mile.
Ayla: (doing a head wobble and finger wag): And I AM doing the NONE run! Have fun guys!
 And Brigg. My boy. My "baby". Only...he's not a baby. He went to a dance. He smelled of Axe. Sigh. He is going to be 12. And I am going to cry. I love this age. But you know that. Maybe it's not the age as much as the young man he's turning into.
Lani is playing softball this year. I'm sorry, but she is badass. I'm claiming she gets it from me. Because I believe if Paul or Brigg ended up with a bruise like this, there would have been tears along the way. :) But not with Lani. Nope. She's tough. She had been hit with the ball 3 times this season already. And she keep coming back for more. (But this may be her last softball season ever. shhh...fine by me!)
The is the highway to heaven we take into town. I was heading into town earlier this week to take Ayla to daycare and this was my view. I grabbed my phone and snapped this photo through my front window. Gorgeous. And a reminder that God is awesome. HUGE. And he must love me to death. Even through my sin and faults and frustrations...He loves me. So thankful.

(I love being back!! Did I mention I missed you guys??)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Well hello blogosphere!

I feel like if I could see you all in real life, there would be hugs and tears all around!!  FOR REAL! I miss you guys! Are you even out there anymore? Do you miss me?? I hope so!

I'm just going to hop right back in. No reason I was absent really...busy. But blah blah blah. You have heard it all before. And I still stay caught up on all YOUR blogs, so I feel like I haven't missed a thing! ;)

So Brigg had a baseball game on Monday night. And for those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or those who know me in real life, you know that is my sweet spot. Sunshine, baseball, cheering (the only thing missing at these little league games are a cold beer in my hand...but I digress). I was sitting there watching him over the fence and was just suddenly overcome. Like I almost started crying.  For real. And I don't cry much really. So I wondered what the hell was WRONG with me??? Why would I cry for heaven's sake? GEEZ. But I just looked at him and seriously people...he is almost a teenager. In July he will be as close to a teenager and her can be without actually BEING one. And he still loves me. It's a miracle.

I'm not going to lie. I was a pain the ass teenager. Actually, I was a pain the ass TWEEN. (go ahead mom...you can back me up on this one. i know. i won't be offended). And Brigg...well...he is me. I GET him in a different way. I get his humor and his antsy demeanor and his energy level and his need to know every.single.detail. of every.single.story. I GET that. And I can see the writing on the wall. I see it coming. COMPLETE AND TOTAL NEED FOR INDEPENDENCE. Ugh. That was me. It will be him. So all of this was flashing before my eyes. And I was freaking. Because just moments before, literally MOMENTS, he had done this in our instagram #selfie(withmyson)

He seriously still loves me. And needs me. And enjoys being around me. So I had this overwhelming urge to document who he is right now. Today. Because with Brigg, I have always said "This is my FAVORITE age!" And I'm not kidding. Every year has been better with him. I'm hoping once we hit 12, I will be saying the same thing. 

So Brigg. Today. Age 11 yrs 9 months 18 days. 
He is awesome.
So freaking funny. He can tell a story like no other. Life of the party.
He is sarcastic. (don't judge me. we allow it. sarcasm is my love language. i won't apologize for it.)
He love baseball with everything in him. LOVES it. He likes all sports and it quick and natural at almost everything he tries, but baseball is the end all for him. His favorite.
He picks up on things quickly. Quick processor. He 'gets it" and wants to move on. You can see how he drives his 5th grade teachers BONKERS. Like really totally insane. 
You can see how it is difficult for me to discipline him without being a total hypocrite. He is me. In an 11 year old boy body. Not very becoming. (or possibly i am him...in a 36 year old woman's body...also very unbecoming.) 
Either way, I love him so much. Under all that craziness is a huge heart, a sense of humor, a love of life and all things exciting. He takes care of me. He's loyal. He's totally irresponsible and not super dependable. But he is focused and happy and so fun to be around. I can't believe he's mine. And I hope I am not totally messing him up. That would be so sad. I pray that God won't let me destroy him and his heart and his excitement for life.

So here I am. Back from the dead. Hopefully I'll be back soon with some sort of inspiration to get something down on paper. Seriously missed you all. Say hi! Tell me you were here! And that you want me to come back again soon. 
Happy May Day.....