Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a rant: what people THINK vs. the TRUTH

I rarely rant on here.
But this is my space and I can do what I want with it.
And today I choose to rant.
About what?
About education.
About what people THINK I do... and I what I actually DO.

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People THINK:
I'm a kindergarten teacher. So I must just sit and color all day.

Teach my 4 and 5 year old students ( most of whom have never been to preschool) how to function in a school setting. How to tie their shoes. How to put on and zip up their jackets. How to walk in a line. How to raise their hand. How to be a good friend...AND... How to recognize numbers. How to READ BOOKS. How to add and subtract. How to write sentences, and then turn those sentences into stories. Yes, we do color occasionally...but that is because kids do actually need a chance to be kids once in awhile. But by no means do we "sit and color" all day.

People THINK:
It can't really be that hard to teach little kids all day.

Have 24 students. All at different levels of development. Who all come from different backgrounds. I have many kids who I've taught to read, and a couple who still can't tell me what the letter B is. I have kids who live with both parents in a middle class home, and others who come from single parent homes, and worry about whether they're going to eat dinner that night or not. So not only do I have to teach the "smart" kids, but I have to catch the struggling ones up. Not only do I have to TEACH my 24 students, but I have to be a counselor, someone to help them with their problems, wipe away their tears, understand what they're going through, and sympathize with them

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People THINK:
That my day starts at 8:00 and ends at 3:00

Arrive about 45 minutes before school starts. I use that time to respond to emails, prepare for my day, run last minute copies, etc. Then I teach until lunch. During that 30 minute lunch, I am dealing with behavior problems, grading papers, checking up on kinders who have peed their pants or threw up the Mountain Dew their parents sent with them for a snack. During my prep time, I am in grade-level meetings, grading more papers, checking homework, planning for the next day, planning for small group instruction, doing paperwork, etc. After ALL of my students leave and my DAILY dismissal duty is over, it is 3:50. I then go back to my room and clean up the disaster that has occured throughout the day. I sharpen pencils, I put papers in mailboxes. I make copies for the next day. I create assessments. I GRADE assessments. I create center games. I cut. I laminate. I make homework packets. I come up with new strategies to reinforce skills that some of my students are struggling with. I have parent meetings. I fill out parents communication logs. I make parent phone calls. I respond to emails. I {sometimes} try to get ahead. I usually get to leave work around 5:30 or 6. And then I get home and typically get on Pinterest to find fun and engaging ideas for lessons that will keep my students interested enough to pay attention to. I read blogs from other Kindergarten teachers, to see what they're doing in THEIR classrooms. So no, my day in no way begins at 8 and ends at 3.
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People THINK:
I do no work in the summer.

Do take a bit of a breather in the summer. But that doesn't mean I don't work. I'm constantly researching new ways to teach while I'm off. I create games. I laminate. I come up with new homework packets. I make new communication logs. I come up with new projects. I make binders. I research different curriculums online. I rearrange and set up the classroom. I spend my OWN money on crayons, scissors, pencils, notebooks, pencil boxes, erasers, markers, books, baskets, bins, pencil sharpeners, puzzles, dice, letter tiles, and anything else that goes into my classroom. Out of all the things in my classroom at this minute? I'd say about 90% of it belongs to me. That I bought with OUR hard earned money.
So yes...I might have 8 weeks off from students. And I take a good amount of that time to enjoy myself and relax. But by no means do I just lay out and get a tan all day every day.

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I could keep going....but I'm not ranting because I hate my job. On the contrary, I've spoken before about just how much I enjoy my job. But I do get tired of non-educators cutting down the work I do. The work ALL teachers do.

I recently watched a documentary called "American Teacher."
And I was appalled by some of the statistics in it.
Like the stat that said 46% of all teachers quit the profession within the first 5 years.
46%...that's almost HALF.
And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that most people just don't get how gosh darn HARD we work. And how little we are compensated, or even respected, for that matter.
So I finally felt like I just had to speak my piece and get it off my chest.
Because I do work hard.
And I care more about my 5 year olds than they will ever begin to understand.
And I just wish that more people would recognize that.

I do way more than just color all day.
And I'm proud of it.

xoxo, wife.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Oh, dresses.
Be still my heart.
When I was little, my mom could never get me to wear pants.
It was always dresses.
Even on gym days.
She had to make me wear leggings under them on those days.
And these days?
I still love dresses.
But...teaching kindergarten requires a lot of "on the floor time."
So my work wardrobe consists mostly of sweaters and slacks.
Fortunately, we are getting to the time of year when we spend less time on the floor, and more time in our seats like big kids!
So that has led me to lusting after some new dresses.
And not that you care, but here are some of the ones I'd REALLY REALLY like.
All of these are from Old Navy, of course.
Because that's where pretty much all my clothes come from.
Now...don't tell my husband...but I plan to own all of these beauties.
And soon.
xoxo, wife.

PS. I figured I'm allowed to throw one non-work related item in...because I can pretty much do what I want. So here it is:

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This is a MUST for my closet. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

while the husband is away...

On Tuesdays, Ty plays basketball with a group of guys from church.
How do I spend that time alone, you ask?
Well, I start by catching up on some blog reading and other social media.
After that I typically look up educational things on Pinterest for awhile.

And then...I do this.

Yep...I put on a facial mask.
And then participate in a very attractive photo shoot.
Side ponytail and all.
There may or may not be music involved.
I know, I know...
I'm bringing sexy back.
Too bad the Hubs has to miss out on all this fun.
Stupid basketball.
xoxo, wife.

Friday, January 25, 2013

on being a better wife.


I like to think I'm a pretty good wife.
But there are times, like right now, when I know I could do better.
Unfortunately, I'm still a "work-in-progress" as a wife.
But I AM working.
Working to be a better, more grateful wife.
Not rolling my eyes when he wants to watch ESPN or play Xbox.
Actually cooking a real dinner once in awhile.
Going to see a movie he'd like to see.
Going to a restaraunt he'd like to go to.
Not complaining when he says he's almost out of underwear, even if I feel like I've just finished all the laundry.
Pulling up my big-girl panties and actually taking out the trash/recycling on my own once in awhile.
Being more encouraging when he talks about losing weight.
Not grumbling if he asks me to stop at the store to pick something up on my way home from work.
These things should just be second nature to me.
And sometimes they are.
But sometimes they're not.
Sometimes I have to work really hard to turn those thoughts into actions.
But it's the least I can do.
Especially after all the things he does for me.
Always letting me choose the restaraunt.
Going to see a million chick flicks.
Changing my oil on his own.
Listening to countless (and probably boring) stories about my students.
Handling all the bills, because it was getting to be too much of a hassle for me to keep up with that and planning lessons.
Offering to help with laundry/dishes.
Bringing home flowers or some other small treat when he knows I've had a bad day.
And you know what?
He does those things without eye rolls or heavy sighs.
He does those things without expecting anything in return.
Because he loves me.
And because those things make me happy.
And my happiness makes him happy as well.
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And I'm learning that putting your spouse's happiness before your own...well that's what helps us stay in love. And I intend on being in love with this guy for the rest of my life.
xoxo, wife.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

bullet point updates.

  • Hunting season is officially over. I am now allowed to use regular laundry detergeant again, so all seems right with the world.
  • At school, we are now officially over halfway through the school year. My students are doing really well, and I am working my butt off to receive a bonus in June.
  • Ty has geared up for another weight loss competition at work. Last time he lost 40 or 50 pounds, so he doesn't have a ton left to lose, but is still working hard.
  • I am officially addicted to Netflix. I think I have a problem. I use to rarely watch tv, and now I'm watching it all the time. I'm currently going back to my high school days and watching Dawson's Creek. I will not admit how many hours I watched on MLK day...but I will say it was a lot.
  • Recently, we decided we need to play games more often. So we sat down the other day and played Trouble. You know...the game for kids? And the competition was pretty fierce.
  • We are still sleeping with the fan on at night. In January. With temps outside in the negatives. Ty puts off an insane amount of body heat at night, and I would die if there wasn't a breeze in the room.
  • We've been going through incredible amounts of tiny marshmallows lately. I buy them for hot chocolate...but somehow, every time I go to make a cup, there are mysteriously no tiny marshmallows. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I caught Ty eating them out of the container with a SPOON the other day.

  • Even in January, we still occasionally find one of those stink bugs in the house. And Abby is terrified of them. If one flys around and makes a buzzing sound, she will either run from the room and go hide under our bed...or she will come to one of us, shaking uncontrollably for about 15 minutes.
  • I have found a V8 drink that I actually like, and have been taking a can to work to have with lunch every day. I'm actually getting some vegetables in, people. This is big news.
  • Remember my 1000 Gifts Journal I'm keeping? Well it's the end of January, and I'm over 100 moments I've been thankful for.
  • We had our first Code Red (Intruder) drill that my school has ever done, in the light of Sandy Hook. I have to admit, explaining to 5 year olds about why we were hiding in the classroom with the lights off was NOT the most pleasant thing I've ever done, but I am beyond grateful that we will be making this a monthly thing.

Just trying to keep you (and my future self) updated on what's going on.

xoxo, wife.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

what would you do??

Answer at age 5: Be the prettiest princess with the most sparkly dresses.
Answer at age 8: Marry Jonathon Taylor Thomas.
Answer at age 11: Compete in gymnastics at the Olympics.
Answer at age 13: Move to Hollywood and become a Disney Channel Star.
Answer at age 16: Be the validictorian, and get a full ride scholarship to an Ivy League School.
Answer at age 19: Become a successful children's author.

My answers today at age 25: run a marathon, cure cancer, build and open my own school with students and teachers who achieve 100% proficiency in math and reading in year one, run my own business, sing and dance in front of other people without being embarrassed, and still be some kind of author.

It's funny how our answers to that very same question change through the years.
But that doesn't make those answers any less true.
And as much as I would love to do all those things without failing...
life without failure wouldn't teach us any lessons, now would it?

What would YOU do?

xoxo, wife.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

quote me.

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have a happy day everyone :)
xoxo, wife.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

kinder quotes of the week

Student: Mrs. Miller, Charles told me to go away and leave him alone forever.
Me: Charles, why would you say such a mean thing?
Charles: Because I want her to go away and leave me alone forever.
During important individual testing-
Me: You did a really good job!
Little girl: That's because I'm a princess.
Me: Oh, is that right?
Little girl: Yep. I'm a Princess Kitten.
Me: Oh...neat.
While sounding out Bossy E words on the board-
Me: Raise your hand if you can sound out this word.
Michael: "Make..." Like you make out with your girlfriend!
Me: Michael!
Walking in the gym after the middle-schoolers just left-
Student 1: UGH! It smells like musty armpits in here!
Student 2: The big kids need some deodorant!
In the hallway-
Little girl: Mrs. Miller...Michael just pinched my butt.
Michael: No! That was just on askident! I didn't mean to!
Me: How do you accidentally pinch someone's butt?
Michael: Sometimes it just happens!
Student: Lily just said the B-word!
Me: What's the B-word?
Student: Booty!
Me: Who knows what the president's job is? What does he do all day?
Student: He's kind of like a judge...like Judge Judy!!!
Me: And George Washington didn't take good care of his teeth, so they all fell out and he had to have teeth made out of wood.
Majority of class: Ew!
James: That would be tight!
Me: Next Tuesday is the 100th day of school! And on that day, you are all allowed to dress up like you are 100 years old!
Student: So we get to dress like you?
Me: NO!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

our relationship quirks.

(I've always loved this picture because I think it sums up our relationship perfectly.)
Today I'm linking up with Ashley over at The Shine Project.
A week or so ago, she wrote about her and her husband's relationship quirks.
While I was reading her post, I thought, "Huh...Ty and I have some quirky qualities ourselves."
  • We call Abby and Bubba "our kids." I think we tend to think of them as humans.
  • We talk to each other in baby/little kid voices...a LOT. On the phone, at home, at restaraunts...now that I'm actually writing this down, it sounds really odd.

  • We are terrible at keeping our house clean. Instead of cleaning a little every day, we often wait to clean until people are on their way over, and then we're running around like banshees trying to make the house look presentable. Ty often says we need to host more get-togethers because it will force us to clean. Embarrassing!
  • Ty likes to cuddle way more than I like to cuddle. I need my space. The only time I really like to cuddle is when we're watching tv and I go and snuggle up with him in his chair. Other than that, I want to be left alone. Therefore, we rarely ever cuddle in bed at night. I stay stricly on my side, and he stays on his side...then all is right with the world. This can create some silly/annoying arguments, so we should both probably work together to find a balance between our preferences.
  • Our tastebuds have virtually nothing in common. Most nights we have two totally separate meals. I think I cook us a normal meal probably 10 times a year. Most of this has to do with our differing tastes. Some of it has to do with the different times we get home from work.
  • I HATE to talk on the phone...Ty loves it. This can make for some really awkward phone convos. They either go one of two ways: A) He talks and talks, and then when it's my turn, I don't ever have anything to say until I get home and can talk to him in person. B) He asks questions and I give him various one word answers until he lets me go.
  • I typically call Ty by his full name: Tylan. I don't know why I started doing that, but that's normally what I call him. However, Ty rarely ever calls me Lisa. I'm "babe." All the time. If he calls me Lisa, I get concerned.
Well, there ya go.
Our relationship quirks in a nutshell.
There's probably more, but I can't think of them right now.
They might be weird or strange to others.
But without those quirks, we wouldn't be the couple we are today.
xoxo, wife.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

so i bent down to pick up my pen...

...and I ripped my freaking pants!

Dropping that dang pen proved to be a mistake.
The pants weren't even too tight!
In fact, they were too loose!
Luckily, this happened at 3:55, and I'm allowed to leave at 4.
The kids were gone...thankfully.
(That would have been a nightmare in a class with 24 5-year-olds.
I ran to my teaching partner's room and asked if she could tell.
She could totally tell.
And could totally see my zebra undies.
Then she proceeded to laugh hysterically at me for 10 minutes.
Now, a NORMAL person would take their "ripped-pants-clad" self home.
I had a lot of stuff to get done before tomorrow.
And if you know me at all, you know that I do NOT want to sacrifice my sleep time in the morning just to get to work early.
So instead of going home, I tied my WINTER COAT around my waist (circa 1992.)
And I walked into the copy room with my head held high (kind of) and prepared for tomorrow.
I stayed at work until 5:30.
If you're keeping track, that means that I spent an hour and thirty-five minutes at work with pants ripped from my crotch all the way back to my butt.
I even interacted with my co-workers, who I'm sure are now questioning my sense of fashion.
Once I felt prepared enough to leave, I did.
And on this chilly, 30 degree day...
I must say that there was quite a draft on my way out to the car.
Rest in peace, khaki pants.
Oh, how I will miss you.
xoxo, wife.

Monday, January 14, 2013

if i could write a letter to me...

Are you all singing that Brad Paisley song to yourself now?
Well I am.
It's one of the few songs he's come out with that I actually like.
I think it's a good idea...writing a letter to your younger self.
And I decided that I'd like to write a letter to me, at age 17.
So here it goes.

Dear 17 year-old Lisa,

I'm sure you probably don't really think you need to hear from me.
Because you think you've already got it all figured out, don't you?
But there are some things I'd like to say to you.

You're smart, you have lots of friends, you sit at the popular table at lunch.
You're the Student Body Vice President.
You're cute (even though you don't always think so.)
But you know what?
I remember you pretty well at 17.
Even though you are part of the popular group, you aren't like all the other people in that group.
And you don't quite feel like you totally fit in with all of them.
You realize that high school isn't as great for everyone as it is for you and your friends.
And you do what you can to acknowlege those people, however insignificantly.
You smile at them in the hallway.
You say hi as you passed by their locker.
You let them borrow your pens.
You share your Orbit gum.
You casually talk about the biology assignment with them.
And you never complain about being stuck with them during a group project.
Sometimes it embarrasses you to be caught engaging in a conversation with some of those people.
But thank you for doing it.
You're a good person for showing others that you care.
That attitude will take you much farther in life than the attitude some of your classmates.
(And you'll stay in touch with the couple of friends that really mattered anyway.)

I also know you often feel left out because you never really have boyfriends.
You feel like the boys just think of you as a buddy, but not girlfriend material.
Sometimes it affects your self-consciousness.
But you know what?
The guys that your friends are dating are losers.
And most of them will break up in a few months anyway.
You're looking for more than a "high school crush."
And you'll find it.
Believe me.
And you'll probably find it sooner than you think.
You'll meet the man of your dreams on your first day of college, and you'll never look back.

If I could give you some advice before I go:

Be YOU. Don't be anybody else.
Don't worry about what other people think of you.
Stand up for others.
Don't be afraid to talk to people about that anxiety you often have. The more you talk about it, the better you'll feel.
Hug your extended family members more often. Some of them will be taken from you soon, and you'll wish you would have done so more often.
Listen to Mom and Dad. They're right 99% of the time.
Put yourself out there, and work hard to achieve your goals.

You're doing a great job, Lisa. And you'll be proud of where you are when you're 25.

25 Year Old You.

PS. Don't stress about Pre-Calc so much. You're never gonna use that stuff, and you'll still go to college and get a career no matter what grade you get in that class anway.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

dune buggy ride of death

In 2008, my parents had planned on taking me and Ty to Sanibel Island for a vacation.
When a hurricane evacuated the island the night before we were supposed to fly in, the vacation had to be canceled.
Instead, we went to Silver Lake in Michigan.
We had a really good time...until the Dune Buggy Ride of Death.
I might look happy in this picture, but don't let my expression fool you.
I was scared out of my ever-loving mind the whole time.
Exhibit A: The Video.
Excuse the noise and bumpiness...I couldn't help it.
Please also excuse the screaming...couldn't help that either.

I applaud you if you made it to the end.
Very soon after the video concluded, both my mom and I asked to be let out of our respective death contraptions known as dune buggies.
Then my dad and Ty were free to do all the crazy crap on those buggies they wanted.
And we sat by the water and complained about it.
It was stupid.
And dumb.
And I should've realized when I had to sign my life away that it was not going to be fun.
And it wasn't.

xoxo, wife.

Monday, January 7, 2013

gallery wall project numero tres.

Another project I found on Pinterest!
I really liked the look of these...um...faux frames?
That's what I'm gonna call them.
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So I thought, "I could totally make that!"
First step: Buy your supplies.
I got a wooden plaque from Hobby Lobby for $2.99.
Then you pick out your paint colors.
I decided to do a crackle finish so I got a base color, the crackle coat, and a main color.
The first thing you do is paint the base coat. This is the color you want to see in the cracks. Apply it generously, and let this coat dry completely.
Once your base coat is completely dry, apply an even coat of the crackle paint over top. I didn't take a picture of this step because the crackle coat is clear.
Anyway, let the crackle coat dry until it is tacky to the touch.
Then you will apply the top paint coat evenly.
This will be the main color of your plaque.
Don't paint it too thick.
Your cracks will start to appear immediately.
The cracks will continue to appear as your plaque dries.
After the plaque has dried completely, choose a picture that you would like to put on it.
I printed my picture on printer paper because I didn't know what ModPodge would do to a regular picture.
Using a matte ModPodge, paint an even coat on the back of your picture, and then stick it on the plaque in a desired spot.
Once the picture is in place, you will then paint an even coat of the ModPodge over the entire surface.
Once it is completely dry, your project is complete!
I added the year in the corner of the picture on a photo-editing program.
So this is another project that will soon grace my gallery wall.
xoxo, wife.