Testing, Testing, Testing

Just checking in… My life has been taken over by math testing this week. Tomorrow is the last day for it and I can’t wait!!

Hopefully I will be back with a more substantial post on Friday or sometime this weekend. We have many things to get caught up on.

Until then… I am off to bed and will probably dream about math testing.

Co-Workers

I am just going to put it out there…

I have the best coworkers in the world! I am not just talking about the classroom teachers I work with. I am talking about the custodian, the district librarian, the Title I teacher, the paras, the secretary, everyone. I love them! They always know how to make me smile and enjoy my day at school. They listen to me when I need to vent about something and are a shoulder to cry on when I need it. They are wonderful!

I think I can go as far as to call them my friends and not just my coworkers. We had a get-together this evening with a few of them and it is always delightful to just sit around, eat yummy food, drink some wine, and chat. We had some laughs and shared some frustrations. It was a lovely couple of hours on a Friday afternoon.

As some of you know (those who know me IRL and not just via the internet), our school district is undergoing some major changes for the next year. Our district is small to begin with: we have 1 high school, 1 junior high, and currently 4 elementary schools (2 rural schools 1st-5th grade, 1 elem. school Pre-K – 3rd grade, and 1 school 4th and 5th grade). This past fall our board voted to close our rural schools and consolidate with our in-town schools. I teach in one of the rural schools and we are utterly devastated by this decision. Our school is our family and we are being broken up.

In addition to having our building closed, the grade levels are being rearranged. I am so happy for our 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade teachers who got their first choice and will be teaching the same grade level next year. I was not so fortunate in that situation. I will be teaching 1st grade next year, which is a lot lower of a grade than I would have preferred. (My first choices were 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade). I am beyond happy that I will have one of my current coworkers in my grade next year and will get to work closely with her. She is an amazing 1st grade teacher and I will probably drive her crazy next year because I will be in her room ALL the time.

Besides just losing our building, we are being split up. I am fortunate enough that I will be working in a building with 2 of our current classroom teachers. I am super sad that the coworker I am closest with now will be in a different building next year. We literally think for each other and finish each others’ sentences. We have basically co-taught this past year and even have part of the wall open to our classrooms so we can easily go from one room to the other. It is the most ideal teaching situation I can imagine… and it is being taken from me.

Basically, what I am saying (in way too many words) is that my co-workers rock! I wish our situation were different and we weren’t being ripped apart. Unfortunately, what is done is done and I am not too hopeful that things will change.

We will definitely have to plan more get-togethers next year 🙂

Another Great Day!

I think spring just brings out the best in me! I had another wonderful day. The kiddos at school were great and we had a good time during after school. I was able to walk for about 45 minutes during after school. I took the children outside and while they ran around and played, I walked up and down the basketball area. The wind has been insane today and walking against the wind definitely slowed me down a bit.

We have been under a tornado watch since about 3:00, but haven’t had much action except for the wind. I just took B out and there were some pretty cool clouds. Here are some pictures I took of them… I don’t know if they are bringing in some rain with them, but nonetheless, I think they look pretty.

Have you been enjoying the lovely spring weather? I sure have!

Back to School

The first day back from spring break went very smoothly. My 3rd graders were still half asleep, so I made them get up and do some jumping jacks and then run in place. That seemed to wake them up a bit and get them going. The other classes seemed to be awake and ready to be back. I forget how much I love my kiddos until we are away from each other a while and then I see them again. They are such wonderful students!

I had everything planned out and was going to come home, change into my workout clothes, and go for a run (sans dog). This did not happen. My husband called and convinced me to drive out to my parents’ house (where he is) and visit him and the dogs. We took a little drive and grabbed some dinner. Then, we went back to the house and just relaxed. I left him at about 6:35 and met a friend for some yummy (and free) frozen yogurt. We tried a new place called 3 Spoons. (For those people around Lawrence, it’s on Mass St.) It is a self-serve yogurt place and was awesome! We took our frozen yogurt to go and walked up and down Mass St. We actually ended up walking for about 30 minutes. There are no rules for Walk Kansas that say I can’t eat while I walk 🙂

Overall, I must give today an A+! It also helped that it was a beautiful day… It’s about 8:20 and 73 degrees outside. I love it!

Ahhh… Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!! After many years of debate (with myself), I think I have decided that spring is my favorite season (with fall in a close second). I love the first day that you realize you can get in your car and it’s warmer in your car than outside. I also love the first day that you come out of a restaurant and it’s warmer outside than in the restaurant. I love the newness of the season, the blooming, the green, everything.

The thing I find most ironic is that today is the first day of spring, but is the last day of my spring break. Now, I don’t think that makes much sense. But, you know what? They didn’t ask my opinion. Also, the weather did not ask my opinion either. Monday of spring break we had snow. Yes, snow. If it were up to me, we would have had a full week of today’s weather: the high was 81 and at 9:15 pm it is still 68. I am not complaining one bit! I love warm weather!

The coming week has a few weather obstacles as far as running goes, but overall, I think it will be a pretty good week. I think the hardest thing about the upcoming week is that I will be back at work. This past week, I have been able to wait until I felt ready to go running/walking. Next week, I will not necessarily have that luxury. I will run after work at about 4:15/4:30 each day, but Tuesdays will be my tough day. I work until 6:00 each Tuesday and by the time I get home, I am hungry and the sun is starting to go down. I think I may have the students I am watching either go to the gym or go outside and I can do some walking there. I don’t have a better solution.

I will have to take it one day at a time. (And report back to you to let you know how it went) 🙂

Self-Discipline

I have been doing a lot of reminiscing lately and there are times that it makes me sad. I think about all the goals that I have set for myself and then did not follow through with. If I would have followed through with those goals, where would my life be? Many of the goals from the past are the same or very similar to my goals now. If they would have become habits, would I have found new goals to strive towards or would I be content with everything?

Here are some goals that frequently come up:
1. Exercise more
2. Eat healthier/ Eat out less
3. Save more/ Stick to a budget
4. Scrapbook more
5. Train dogs more consistently
6. Find a church home

Some of thes goals date back to my freshman year of college… about 9 years ago. Where would I be if I would have stuck to the exercising goal? Getting ready to run a 1/2 marathon? Or the saving more money goal? Would I be out of debt by now?

Sometimes it makes me sick to think about how far I could be if I would have stuck to those. How do I know I am not going to fail this time around? If I have been setting those goals for 9 years, what is holding me back? What has been so important that I haven’t been able to meet one of those goals for more than a month at a time? I know self-discipline plays into it quite a bit, but how do I improve that?

One of my biggest motivators and role models has always been my brother. I always admired how hard he pushed himself and how self’-disciplined he is. He ran a marathon. He lived in Italy for 3 years. He is working on his PhD. I am just in awe of him. How did we come from the same parents and still manage to be so different? If I had half his motivation, I would be on a completely different level.

It is up to me to be the one whom people look up to. It is up to me to shake myself awake and realize what I am capable of. It is up to me to become the woman I imagine. It is up to me to not get in my own way.

Here’s to hoping I can live up to it.

Walk Kansas

Today Bandit and I did a 2 mile walk/run. I can actually feel myself becoming a stronger runner. I was able to run further distances than normal. Now, I can’t run all 2 miles yet, but hopefully by the end of April I will be able to. (That’s my goal for running right now). I think the exercise wore Bandit out more than I was.I have been really working hard lately because I am the captain of a Walk Kansas team. “What is Walk Kansas?” you ask. Well, read about it here. I am in charge of 5 other people and we are trying to “walk across Kansas.” We are doing Challenge 1, which requires a minimum of 150 minutes of activity a week. (Challenge 2 is 6 hours a week and I don’t think our team is quite ready for that).

I have been doing pretty well, but have found that since I am running, I still go a long distance, but it doesn’t take me as much time as I would like. That is my conundrum at this time… Do I opt for a longer distance or do I walk more? My goal is about 30 minutes a day. This will put me over the 150 minutes, but personally I want to get 30 minutes a day. I upped my distance from about 1.5 miles to 2 miles and it took me right at 30 minutes today. I know that is a very slow pace, but I am just happy I made it 2 miles today and didn’t fall over.

Another part of Walk Kansas is consuming more fruits and veggies. I am not good at this part. They want you to get about 5-6 cups a day and I am averaging about 3 a day. Now, before Walk Kansas I am pretty sure I averaged about 1 a day, so it is an improvement. Today for lunch I had a leftover BBQed chicken breast and ate so many veggies. I had quite a few leftover from a couple days ago and I just sat in front of my computer reading and munching on veggies. I was shocked when I looked down and had eaten them all. I am guessing it was about 2 cups in one sitting (pretty much unheard of from me). I love raw veggies and that is how I am getting the majority of my servings.

From what I have heard, the rest of my team is kicking butt, too. They report to me on Sunday and we can see how things went for the first week. I know we are going to rock it!

Time to Take it up a Notch

Good evening fine folks. Some of you may not realize, but I am currently enjoying my spring break. It is one of the perks of being a teacher, but what am I going to do on the Thursday of my spring break (tomorrow)? I will spend about 4 hours or so at school. I need to get things planned and ready for when the kiddos get back. We have a week to prep and then the following week we will be math testing. This is where it is my time to shine (or fall flat on my face). I am nervous, but I think we have been doing some great prep work, so hopefully the kids will show up.

I have been doing ok with my resolutions in March, but I am still not happy with the caliber I have been performing. I have recently started running/walking with Bandit and have definitely enjoyed that. I actually caught myself thinking about going out running tomorrow… crazy! I have always wanted to be a runner, but I have never had the endurance to do that. I am hoping this trend sticks and I will someday become the runner I have always wanted to be.

I am doing ok with blogging (as in, I have blogged twice in March and they both happened to be days in which I did not work). It is one of those things that I really need to focus on and make a priority. If blogging was as big of a priority as The Biggest Loser or Teen Mom 2, then it would be taken care of immediately. I hate that tv has taken over much of my life and I am considering going through our DVR and getting rid of shows that I really am not that attached to. I record Dr. Oz everyday because he has some very valuable information, but do I really need to spend 5 hours on the weekend catching up on it? Probably not.

I just did our budget for the summer (when we move and start paying a higher rent) and overall, it was depressing. We are going to have to lower how much we put into savings each month and really stick to the budget. According to my math, we only have about $14 of wiggle room. The past few months our phone bill has been lower than normal and we haven’t been breaking even in other categories, so that helps. I guess the main issue we have is with eating out. We have been TERRIBLE this month. We are already over in that category by $100. Blech! I think about what food I ate and I wonder if it was worth throwing that much money away. I think not! I knew we weren’t doing well earlier this week, but I find it is so hard not to eat out. For instance, I made a potato soup on Monday and it was pretty bland. We did not enjoy it very much, so we topped off our hungry stomachs with some Sonic. And then today, we had breakfast with hubby’s work friends. It was a great time, but I wish it would have fit in our budget a little bit better.

With how the budget looks for when we move, we really need to take it up a notch and seriously stick to the budget. I have it written out and all pretty, I just need some self-discipline. I guess a lot of my resolutions would be going better if I had more self-discipline.

How do you keep up with your budget? Do you write out all your expenses? Do you use a spreadsheet or an online tracker? What works for you?

Procrastination at it’s Best

I was the epitome of procrastination and lazy during the month of February. Sure, I can blame it on prepping students for state assessments and finding out I will be teaching 1st grade next year (shudder), but that’s not good enough. I really don’t have a reason at all. I was just lazy. I did horribly with my resolutions and really didn’t know if I would ever want to show my face on this blog again. But, with my loyal 2 followers, I knew I could not let them down.

So, I am back…

For kicks and giggles let’s take a look at my resolutions and give myself a grade for February.

Health
Work out 3x a week (this can be taking the dog(s) for a walk, yoga DVD, etc.)- F
Drink at least 3 cups of water a day- D

Financial
Have at least $3000 in our regular savings account (we are starting out with about $1000)- D
Keep my checkbook balanced- F
Eat at home 5x a week (This could go in the health category, but we do it more for money reasons. When we eat at Mom and Dad’s on Wednesday nights, I am counting that, since we are not going out and buying our dinner.)- C

House
Create and keep up with a chore chart (This will involve my husband as well)- C

Hobbies
Complete the 365 52 day photo challenge (This will be featured on this blog and there will be more details to come)- F
Read at least 2 books a month- F
Blog at least 4 times a week- F
Finish my wedding scrapbook- F

Spiritual
Go to church on a regular basis- F
Start and keep up with a prayer journal- F

Now that’s a report card no one would want to show their parents. Let me reiterate… I was lazy! Again, no excuse… I wish I had some grand story to tell you about how I was out saving little baby bunnies and that time got away from me, but alas, I was just lazy.

Because I don’t want to ruin my self-esteem with these grades (teachers, are you laughing?), I will spin it so that I feel better about myself and my parents won’t come knocking at the door demanding answers to the previous grades…

Being lazy- A
Not reading a thing- A
Watching a lot of mindless television- A
Letting the house slowly become a mess- A
Not scrapbooking or crafting- A
Acting like I don’t know what a fruit or veggie is- A
Pretending I didn’t know how to shoot a camera- A

Now, look at all those As. Don’t I feel better about myself? Yeah, not really.

I guess the point of this post is to let you know I am still alive and kicking and it’s time for me to step it up and get back on track.

I should be back soon and hopefully I will have some better news about my resolutions. Until then, I hope I am the only slacker and the rest of you (2 followers) are kickin’ butt!