Friday, August 23, 2013

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. Friday

It's our first full week of school, and I'm telling you - Friday seemed to be a long ways away.  Teachers, can I get an AMEN?

I feel like we're finally getting into the routine of things in our room and getting some things done.  Some.  Not a lot, but some.  I have a really sweet group of kids this year - so I'm really excited.

This weekend my aunt & uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  50 years.  That is insane to me.  In a world today when it's far more common (and a lot easier) to just quit, I love encountering couples who have successfully done this marriage thing.

In addition to the anniversary being celebrated, I'm excited to spend time with extended family that I don't get to see very often.  My dad's family is very close - but the extended part of that family lives all over the United States.  There aren't many events that bring them all back together anymore now that weddings are over and funerals have stopped for awhile (Thank God) - so when we get to celebrate happy events all together, I really look forward to that.

Hopefully I'll check in Monday with some pictures from our time this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Best is Yet to Come

This little picture has gotten me through lots and lots of days where the sadness I feel about our inability to have babies has just overtaken me.  I'm not really a pessimistic person, so the glass is almost always half full for me.

That little sprout growing out of that huge tree stump is so symbolic to me of so many things.  I think about the hope that can come in the most impossible of places.  I cannot tell you the amount of emails or conversations I've had with people since blogging about this journey that have gone something like this: "we had trouble getting pregnant too" or "you have no idea the strength I've gained from reading about your battle - THANK YOU FOR TALKING ABOUT IT".  These conversations humble me, but they also remind me that in the midst of this dark season in our lives, I might be providing hope for someone else.  It only takes ONE single light to lighten the dark.  Just one.

That little sprout also obviously symbolizes our future child(ren).  Growing out of the dark and hard time in our life.  But growing nonetheless.

And the thought that this is not our final destination is just such a remarkable reminder.  Although my present situation is certainly not what I would've chosen, it's exactly where I'm supposed to be - and for that, I will be thankful.

Be light today, friends.  :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Morning...again?

Welp, the first few days with kids is in the books and I have to say, I LOVE THEM.  They are fun, and eager to learn, and just great kids. However, I was BEAT by the end of Friday and I am wondering how on Earth I'm going to make it thru this week.  It'll be ok, right?

My nephew Aiden's 5th birthday party was this weekend.  I love that kid so much.  He is spunky and sassy and quite frankly hilarious.  It was an awesome way to spend part of my first weekend back.  :)

Yesterday, I spent about 4 hours writing lesson plans.  It's sort of like riding a bike - once I get back into the swing of things it won't take that long - but MY GOSH, that took forever.  It certainly doesn't help that I'm a bit of a perfectionist and that I rarely just "do what I did last year".  Yes, I certainly could just pull out my plans from last year and copy them - but there were things that weren't perfect and/or didn't work last year - so why on Earth wouldn't I change them this year?!  This is my 6th year teaching fifth grade and I am just now figuring things out - seriously.

I'm sad that this awesome cool summer weather is coming to an end tomorrow.  I hate hot weather, so this summer has been so awesome because we've been able to have windows open and take nice walks where it isn't so humid that I feel like I'm in the rain forest.

I have no idea where all of that just came from...but I guess it was floating around in my head somewhere.

Happy Week Friends -

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

'Twas the Day Before School

I got the chance to meet my new class last night - I always LOVE the first time I get to put faces with names - but it is SO overwhelming.  Every single year feels like a whirlwind and before I know it, I'm sitting at my desk in my quiet room feeling awful that I didn't have more of a chance to meet and get to know the kids and their parents.  But, such is the schedule of Stash &'s fast and intended for them to just drop in, meet me, and drop off their supplies.  I work in a really fantastic district where parental support is abundant and I feel SO blessed.  This is going to be a great year.

I did take a few pictures of my room finished so I could share it with all of you.  :)

This is the door to my classroom.  I love, love, love the poster that's on that door.  The biggest life lesson I want my kids to leave 5th grade with is that they absolutely can change the world.
This is the view of my classroom from the front.
This is the new and improved reading corner.  Posters and a rug made a HUGE difference - I really love it, I can't wait to sit there and read to them every day.  :)
 Now that the physical space of my classroom is set up, I was able to sit at my desk today and really plan for the week's activities.  While the OCD side of me loves organizing and setting up my room, my favorite part of my job {and the real reason I'm there} is planning and interacting with my kids!  :)

I have to admit, on today - the day before school starts - I'm nervous.  The magnitude of the responsibility I feel is enormous.  25 lives are entrusted to me and whether I am one of their best or worst teachers, I am still responsible for changing them in big ways.  I want them to always look back on 5th grade and smile thinking about the fun we had and the things we learned together.  And the selfish part of me (or anyone I'd guess) wants my fifth-sters to like me.

So, here we go!  The 2013-2014 school year begins tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited!  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Can time just slow down?  Like, stop.  But, on the other hand - hurry on up.  I'm living such an anomaly right now because I really feel like in so many aspects of my life I want time to slow down, but in our journey towards parenthood, I desperately want time to hurry up!

I am typically a person who works VERY hard to enjoy the moment.  I try to savor each phase of my life because I know it will never come again.  I wasn't one of those brides who wished away their engagement.  I loved every moment of that phase of my life because I knew it was never coming again.  I enjoyed our first year or so of marriage before really beginning to worry about parenthood.  This infertility struggle has really challenged this for me however.  When parents smirk and say, "why are you rushing it?!  Enjoy your sleep while you can" I giggle with them, but inside it makes my stomach flip because I just cannot believe the insensitivity of some people.  Why don't you just enjoy a phase of your life that you never asked to be in in the first place?!  Anyone?  Yep, prolly not many takers on that one.

Anyway, time is a funny thing.  And I will continue to try to live on God's time and not my own.

I get to meet my new fifth-sters tonight and I am really excited.  I love the fresh start of a new school year.  I love that my room is all bright and ready for them.  I love that while many of them love their summers, they are for the most part ready to come back and have at least a little hint of excitement.  I do too.

That's about all for this Monday morning from me
Enjoy your week -

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Amen.  I mean, seriously - I have nothing else to say today.  This image just speaks for itself and is precisely what I've been thinking.  The amount of complaining in our country is just plain ridiculous.  Three words to explain that: THIRD.WORLD.PROBLEMS.

The end.

Enjoy your glass today, Friends -

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So What Wednesday

Linking up with Shannon at Life After I Dew today for a little "So What"

  • I feel like a 90 year old woman after only two days of choreography at the studio.  I am SO sore.  Like hurts-to-sit-on-the-toilet sore...but whatever.
  • My obsession with So You Think You Can Dance is ridiculous.  I am in love with many of those choreographers.  They are so amazing.
  • My classroom is STILL not put together completely.  That's the plan for tomorrow.  After tomorrow, the goal is to be able to sit at my desk and look at my adorable home away from home to really plan and prepare for fifth-sters next week.
  • I cannot wait for the end of this week because parents in our district find out who their children have for the year - it's hard to keep secrets.  :)
  • I had to finally start a tub for baby stuff we have collected for when our miracle baby finally happens.  Fingers are still crossed and prayers are still being said.
  • My hair is a HOT MESS because I missed my appointment last week.  Her next available appointment isn't for weeks {gasp}, so I'm considering going to another stylist at her salon so as to not frighten my new kids and parents next week.
That's about all this week for SO WHAT.

Have a happy Wednesday -

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


This little image makes me smile and reflect and try harder.  I want to have people look at my life and know that I am joyful for the abundant blessings that I have been so undeservingly given.  Even through the trials of my life {this one especially}, I have often wondered whether I portray joyfulness.  I wonder how others see me.  I wonder if my efforts to be joyful in the midst of hardship have paid off.

I would love to say that they have.  But truthfully, there are many days that joy is not anywhere near the top of my list of feelings.  What I've determined is that joy is not necessarily the same as happiness.  Joy is more of a choice.  Much like love.  I have to choose to by joyful because although there are many things in my life that I would like to be different - there are SO many more things in my life I am thankful for.  I am so, so, so blessed.

And so are you.  No matter the circumstance you might be going through - I promise, if you look hard enough - it's there.  There is joy all around you, even in the midst of darkness.  Light will always beat out darkness.  Always.

Be Joyful today, Friends :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Morning Musings

Monday Morning Night Musings.

Well, for the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out how I was going to fit this little blog of mine in when life got busy again at the start of school.  It hasn't officially started yet, but this week is extremely busy with choreography at the studio and finishing touches on my classroom before the official first day back on Thursday.

Can anyone tell that I did a terrible job of figuring out how to fit this blog in since I haven't blogged since last Thursday?!  Wow, that wasn't so good.  I'll be better.  Promise.

  • As I've re-read a few posts, it appears that I'm complaining about going back to work.  I wish my tone would come across over the blog because I'm really not complaining.  Here's the deal - I love my job.  Like really love it.  It is honestly one of the greatest privileges of my life to get to teach in such an amazing school district every single day.  However, I also really love the perks of my job - one of which being summer.  I very much enjoy summer time with my family and get a little sad when that is over.  But I am not complaining about my long summer break because I know that is far more than many people are blessed with.  {ok, sigh of relief that I got that out in the open}
  • I am checking things off left and right from my to-do list.  Class lists came out, so I am labeling everything, writing notes to my future fifth-sters, printing and copying, planning, and decorating. I am starting to get in the groove of things and it feels good.
  • The finale of the Bachelorette is killing me tonight.  Drew is just the sweetest and watching his heart get broken tonight on National TV was about enough to send me over the edge.
  • The realization that this summer may be my last without children was a pretty big deal to me this week.  Not sure why this just hit me, but it was scary and exciting all at the same time.  {keep praying, friends - we totally appreciate you!}
  • What is with this weather?!  Open windows in August?  Ridiculous.
  • I'm excited to go to the grocery store this weekend to purchase "pack my lunch" foods for next week.  I'm so dumb.  :)
Alright, I think that's it.  I'll hopefully be back in the morning with another post.

Thanks for reading, friends -

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Classroom Project Progress

Happy August, friends.  August is the month of back-to-school here in Iowa, so here's a little re-cap of the progress made in my home away from home - Room 91.

Earlier this week I spent another day in my classroom checking things off my master to-do list.  We go back to work one week from today for a few in-services before students join us on the 14th.  With each project I complete, I get more excited to have my new fifth-sters in my room - I hope they will enjoy being in this room as much as I do!  :)

I have really enjoyed making as much as I can for my room rather than buying everything or handwriting all of my labels - I'm by no means an expert, but I am liking the way it's turning out.

This is on my front white board.  When there is work time in my room, I will put up the cards of approved activities for them to work on when they are finished with the assigned task.  So far I only have 8 tasks, but I like that I can make more if I need to!  So easy, insert a square shape on a word or powerpoint document, insert your text box, clipart if you want it - print in color, cut out, back on card stock, laminate and slap a magnet on the back = EASY PEASY.  :)
Last summer I decided to make the switch to fabric on my bulletin boards - hello, best decision of my life.  {Kevin says I exaggerate, I have no idea what he's talking about...} Anyway, I really have loved the dark fabric with bright colors.  It makes everything pop.  I also feel really lucky to have one accent wall in my room - all classrooms in our building have one wall that is painted a color (green, yellow, orange, purple, or blue) - it really adds a lot to the room. 
This is my side whiteboard and it has housed 3 different things during the 3 years I've been in this classroom - but I think the 3rd one is the charm.  I basically re-created a big page out of my kid's planners - each section is a different subject and we will fill out our "planners" together as the day goes on.  I'm hopeful that this will allow for accountability for the kids and we will be able to scaffold throughout the year so they will be able to do this with increasing independence by the end of the year so they will be ready for 6th grade {and life!}
I found this on a blog or something a long time ago and I wish I knew where so I could give them credit.  I changed it up a bit so it fit the language we use in our classroom and then made it in my classroom colors.  I uploaded it to Vistaprint {LOVE} and it came in the mail a week later.  It hangs in the back of my room and serves as a reminder to the kids, but more importantly to me - I need reminders that we do a LOT more than just learn to read and do math from time to time.  :)
This is my back table and our mail station.  It's not a great picture, but here we go: the mailboxes are shoe organizers from Target.  They were expensive {$25 each maybe?} however I bought them my first year teaching, I use them every single day, and they're still going strong - so they were definitely worth the money in my opinion.  My philosophy with most things - but my classroom specifically - is to be as frugal as possible and only splurge on things you are confident will last for a LONG time and be used frequently.  You can see two of my labels on the wall pointing down to the two baskets - one is the "in basket" which is where kids turn in notes to me, office, etc.  One is the "outgoing mail" basket.  I put corrected papers or anything that needs to go home in there and then whoever has a moment (a kid done with work, a para-educator in my room or myself) just puts the papers in each student's numbered mailbox.  It works for me.  On the side of the table are two other baskets (one is for turned in homework and the bottom is for missing homework forms) and then a basket of highlighters because my kids have to highlight their name on all assignments prior to turning them in.
Each Friday my students have Responsibility Recess for the last 15 minutes of school.  It is a privilege and not a right, which serves as a nice little piece of bribery throughout the week.  Students lose Responsibility Recess for not turning in work on time or making inappropriate choices repeatedly throughout the week.  I am admittedly terrible at remembering who has lost Responsibility Recess throughout the week and I needed something to help me out.  *Enter this little gem.*  Each student has a number (lovingly created and cut out by my friend Allie - she's AMAZE-BALLS) - when they lose their RR, their number (which is a magnet) will be taken off and put on the back.  One look at this frame and I will know immediately who owes me time during Responsibility Recess.  Problem Solved.  Awesome.
This corner is in serious need of a little TLC, but I took the picture to show you another splurge I made for my room.  That lamp is excellent.  It matches the colors of my room perfectly and is exactly what I've been looking for.  I spend a lot of time with my kids around this space whether it's teaching mini-lessons, reading aloud to them, or having class meetings so I wanted it to be cozy and fun.  I'm going to move that poster up a bit so it's not blocked and then I have a few other posters to put up in the blank space above the table.  I'll have to take an "after" shot.  Because probably nobody but me cares - but whatever.  :)
Alright, I think that's it for today.  I'm off to spend more fun time with Sam, Maicey & Kaitlyn today.  I hope you all have an amazing day!