Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oh my. Where have I been?

It's been too long, y'all. For various reasons, I abandoned my little blog two summers ago. I wrote my last post likely the night prior to diving into 4th grade. To say I love 4th grade and my team is an understatement. I have benefitted from teaching 160 amazing children. It has been a fulfilling two years.

But, has it been a journey of growth both personally and professionally. Professionally, changing to fourth grade language arts was like throwing myself in a blender. My first year, I taught novel studies and developed my lessons personally, with a little help from the goddesses and gods at TpT, and wore myself out! It was a truly great year, though. Last year we implemented a new reading series. As I was asked to be on the team to procure the new reading series, I thought I should give it a try. I do love it, but deciphering all the resources was a huge task. Are we ever given enough training with new resources? Um, no.

Personally, I was experiencing pain in my joints (especially my knuckles), complete exhaustion, irritability, and a host of other fun symptoms last summer.  After going to my general practitioner who sent me to a rheumatologist, being tested for everything and possibly being diagnosed with lupus, and finally about to be lumped into the group of fibromyalgia sufferers, I took my health into my own hands. I cut out gluten, most dairy, and added sugar in November. My symptoms slowly disappeared. Now, staring at 50 in December, I can honestly say I feel better than I have in decades. I dropped 10 pounds purely by dietary changes. Please feel free to contact me with any questions if you have similar symptoms.

So, now that I feel my head is above water and I can receive ideas as inspiration instead of beating myself up that I can't keep up, I have delved back into Bloglovin' with as much wonder as I experienced two years ago. It felt like reconnecting with old friends. I also realized I had 265 comments I had never read nor knew I had. It was like receiving a giant bloggy bear hug. So, my little blog lived on without me at the helm.

I am back with many amazing ideas to share. When a great lesson turned out to be even better than envisioned, I would think, "I should blog about that!" Now I will.  I am back.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello.....It's me :)

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!

If you haven't heard because you were living under a rock or in technology training learning nothing new great stuff, here are the details:

Day 1!  Meet me!

1.  I am a mom first and foremost. I have two amazing boys who make me laugh and smile like no other. Alex is headed off to Old Dominion University next week.  Nick will ride to school with me for one more year in 8th grade at my school.

2. I love my sweet puppy, Lilly, so much and will miss her terribly when I go back to work :(

3.  I love to watch sports, and if my boys are playing in the event, even better!  I love Giants and ODU football.  I am also a huge Braves fan and LOVE tennis. I get slightly depressed when one of the major tournaments is over. I also love to watch golf. 

4. I had many careers prior to teaching. I got my business degree from ODU and a paralegal degree as well. I managed a high end party planning store and also worked for an attorney who specialized in family law and bankruptcy law. I had never been so miserable in my life. I finally went back to ODU for my master's degree in elementary education.  My mother was a fourth grade teacher and talked me out of it as a rising college freshman. But, I think I am a much better teacher because of my path. I love the quirky kids, and most of my "favorites" are not kids that most others choose as their favorites. One of my strong suits, if not the strongest, is the rapport I have with my students and their parents. 

5. I love to travel. I would gladly keep a bag packed to be able to head on an exciting adventure at the drop of a hat. 

6.  I am deathly allergic to bees, although I think they are adorable. 

7. Things I love: being Southern, palm trees, my friends, laughing, girls night out, the beach, summer, flip flops, sunshine, eating at a restaurant outside with a view of the water, the color pink, hydrangeas, sappy chick flicks like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle", Duck Dynasty, sweet tea, porches, pandas, cosmos and mojitos, sweaters, and shopping. 

8. Things I dislike: snakes, fire, scary or graphic movies, people who drive slowly in the left lane, tardiness, negativity, pretention, getting woken up once I get to sleep, weeds, and the end of summer. 

9.  My iPad is currently so cracked, hence the typos, but I can't part with it long enough to have it fixed. 

10.  I am a perpetually happy person who is an optimist, sometimes to a fault. I can be extremely naive at times. But, I always try to focus on the positive :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Monday Made It and Getting By with a Little Help From My Friends!!!

Wow!  When I say life has been busy, I mean it!  It has also been fun!  I spent a glorious but sticky, humid week in Florida.  We do humid here in Virginia Beach, but it was even worse there!  The fact that this was the view out of one of the windows in my villa made me happy*happy*happy!!

Any place with palm trees is a good place, indeed!

We didn't spend too much time at the parks in Orlando, but I love Animal Kingdom. Doesn't this guy remind you of Ivan from The One and Only Ivan?  He was fascinating...

The only other thing I will share is this car.

So, let me get this straight. I can't get a thing to stick to the walls of my classroom, but this guy can affix all this to his car?  I truly wanted to ask  For some reason, our car never got close enough to ask????  What?

OK. Onto my made its. I have so many but will wait for my big reveal and just share a few. After much craziness, my room was painted. It took 5 hours and 4 gallons, but it looks amazing!  I could not be happier!  I have pics of the very beginning and will share the finished product when I put all the mess back together. 

Do you know a family that just warms your heart?  Mine consists of four of the most giving people on the planet. Ray is a firefighter and was a first responder to the jet crash into apartment buildings a few years back at which there were no fatalities. A true miracle. He has also left at a moment's notice to help during Hurricane Sandy and the earthquake in Haiti. Rebecca works for Catholic charities helping those less fortunate find help. Their two kiddos both volunteer at Equikids, which is a therapy program using horses. They gave up 5+ hours to help paint my classroom. It actually was fun!

Nice thumb....proof I was there!  My sweet son also helped. The only payment they would take was beverage related.

We laughed so hard when these happy hour beers arrived!

I want to show my awesome Boggle board. I bought it from The Clutter-Free Classroom.

I also dyed some clothespins (all over Pinterest), printed out the cute chalkboard frames, laminated them, and hot glue gunned them to the clothespin. Then I glued two tacks to the back. 

These are waiting outside my classroom for some awesome student work!  I also laminated Christina Bainbridge's great back-to-school banner. Just noticed it could use a little repositioning :) The hall is done!!!

Have a great week!  We have technology training tomorrow and head back for in-service next Monday. So not ready on so many levels....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

VA is for Bloggers - Southern Hospitality Freebie Blog Hop

Welcome to Virginia!

Virginia is for Lovers Bloggers!

 A lovely group of Virginia bloggers would like to help usher in the new school year by extending a bit of southern hospitality.  You can follow along the blog hop to visit 20+ Virginia teacher blogs for terrific teaching tips and fun freebies to help get your new school year off to a great start.

I want to share my "Do you have writer's eyes?" bulletin board posters.

I made these eyes out of Dollar Tree pizza pans, black paper plates, and googly eyes.  The bridge of the glasses is cardboard painted with silver paint.  Download these posters, and you have your board!  The frames are a freebie from the 3 a.m. Teacher, and the clip art is from Scrappin' Doodles.  Enjoy, y'all!

Click here for freebie.

The next stop on the hop is Flamingo Fabulous in Second Grade.


So grab a glass of sweet tea and stop in for a visit for some sweet southern hospitality from Virginia.  Y'all be sure to grab a freebie before you go!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

When You Get Stressed About Back to School....Watch This!

What could be better than Jimmy Fallon, whom I adore, singing my favorite summer song on classroom instruments???  I was all stressed out last night, and I saw can you not laugh and smile when you see this?  Classic.

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's coming.....

Be on the lookout!!!

August Currently...How?

I am seriously flabbergasted that it is August. I was enjoying reading everyone else's Currentlies on my Bloglovin' feed, but I could not bring myself to type my own. You see...I {{{{{LOVE}}}}}} summer. I am happiest with flip flops on or toes in the sand. I am a beach chick at heart. While I love teaching, I equally love summer and all the freedom it brings. I love the time with my boys, love the the lack of homework and grading, love the time with my puppy....I know I am preaching to the choir!  Time to put my big girl panties on....

Listening:  I just love my Lilly!  I hate the thought of leaving her each day :(

Loving: I leave tomorrow for Florida for 6 days....I hope I will allow myself the time to relax and not stress about the fact that I will only have a week left when I get back before in-service starts. 

Thinking: I thrive on crunch time. I have it all organized in my head and just need to spring into action after I work out. 

Wanting: I am all-in with Apple....drank their Kool-Aid years back when I got my iPhone and iPad (an extension of my arm)....I love anything that starts with "i". But, a Mac is not in my budget right now. I won't even tell you how old my PC is...when I told the genius at the Apple store, he told me it should be in the Smithsonian!  But, until it dies, it will have to do. Sigh. 

Needing:  I spent hours in my classroom this week. I got up a few bulletin boards. But, I was overwhelmed by the amount of antiquated resources that were never used, yet I don't feel that I can throw out.  So, I power-lifted it all to the very top two shelves in my closet. It freed up so much space. I hate waste. Makes me crazy. 

B2S: 1-My Erin Condren planner is already the incredible organizational tool that I dreamed it would be!  Everything is within reach in that adorable spiral-bound wonder. All my lists, sketches of my classroom, long-range planning. It's all there. 2-I am loving my teacher tool box was so helpful when I started unpacking my supplies. 3-I am the binder queen at school. Everyone teases me, but they are the first ones to come to me when they can't find something. As a roving resource teacher, the binders were color-coded on my office shelf so I could grab and go...I am trying out the app Live Binders that Courtney at Polka Dot Lesson Plans suggested. It seems really cool.

Link up with Farley and join the fun!

I have not mentioned the fact that my oldest starts college this month. Can't go there in my mind yet. I am so incredibly excited for him and cannot wait to see the good he will bring to this crazy world. He is energy personified....but he will leave a big hole in our house. I divorced 8 years ago, and while I am that freaky divorcee who gets along with her ex and all of his family (I spent the 4th with them all), my sons and I are also an incredibly tight-knit little group of 3.  I know that this is the goal I have had for him for 18 years, but it is also breaking my heart. Our lives will never be the will be another "new normal".  Guess I just went there after's all good.  He is amazing and will do great things :)

Whew....lots going on in this blonde head!  Time to jet off, jump in a pool with a cocktail in hand (if it could have a cute umbrella with a chevron would be out-of-this-world fabulous) and chill.....

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