Tuesday, April 29, 2014

my first job interview in 4 years.

After 4 years of teaching in an urban charter school, I'm ready to move on.
Ready to grow. Ready to change.
Ready to possibly begin looking for my "forever school."
Today I had my first interview in a really long time.

I spent the day both looking forward to and dreading this dang interview.
I'm ready to start fresh somewhere and rejuvenate my love of teaching.
I'm also incredibly comfortable where I'm at.
(Not to mention I'm a really awkward speaker...and really shy around people I don't know.)

So I got there incredibly early.
And sat in the lobby for about 7 agonizing minutes before the interviewer finally put me out of my misery and took me early.
I knew this was going to be a taped interview, but was told the camera would be hidden.
That darn camera was right in my freaking face...red blinking light and all.

Me: Wow...that thing's like RIGHT there, huh?
Interviewer: Oh, don't worry about it...try to pretend it's not even there!
Me: Um....ok.

As soon as she turned that stupid camera on I turned into a babbling fool.
The first question was so bad that I had to stop and one point and start over because I wasn't making any sense. At about Question #9, I started to relax...but I still wasn't sure if I was giving adequate answers or not. And I started wishing that it would end. Soon.

When she finally finished Question #22, she asked if I had anything else I wanted to say. And I did. My teaching philosophy. Now, when I was in college and had to write my teaching philosophy, it was a good 3 pages long. Mostly because it had to be. But that philosophy has changed so much since 2010. And I was ready to give it. So I did. And I felt like I finally said something right, because the interviewer lady had a huge grin on her face.

After she finally turned the camera off we chatted for a few minutes about my current school and about what the rest of the interview process would look like. When I got up to leave she said that she was "really going to be pushing for me." So apparently I made some sort of impact. Then while I was walking out to the car I realized how incredibly sweaty I was. That was a stressful 45 minutes, I tell ya!

Glad it's over. Won't be surprised to never hear from them again.
But I'm much more prepared for the next interview that comes my way.
I've got a packet going out to a principal tomorrow that's got a first grade position open for next year.
**Fingers crossed**

xoxo, wife.

Monday, April 28, 2014

things parents should know about their 5 year-old.

I don't have any kids of my own and I don't claim to know a thing about how difficult it is to raise them. But I do teach kids. 18-25 kindergartners a year, in fact. I teach in an urban school in Indiana. I spend 40 hours a week with them for 10 months...your children. I talk to them, see their immense growth through the year...really get to know them. And by the end of the year I'm shedding tears while I watch them walk across the stage to get their diploma. Because over those ten months we've connected. We've bonded. And I feel like I'm saying goodbye to my own babies.

In 6 weeks I'll be finishing up my 3rd year of this gig. And I think after 3 years I've learned a few things about 5 year olds and the way they work. Sometimes parents will ask me for advice. They have questions about their kids and they think that because I see them outside of the home that I may know something about their kid that they don't. Sometimes I do. And sometimes I don't. I do know that a lot of them open up to me about things that their parents would probably prefer that they didn't. Kindergartners will tell you just about anything, especially about their home lives and their parents. And so I never feel totally qualified to answer parents' questions about their kids, but I've started to catch on about a few things. With the HUGE disclaimer that I have never myself raised a child, I give you the following:

Things Parents Should Know About Their 5 Year-Old

1. 5 year-olds aren't nearly as crazy as you might think they are. As a whole they are sweet, kind, innocent, scared, vulnerable, anxious, and funny. If they're up to mischief, it's probably because they're bored, or because they want your attention. 
2. 5 year-olds are seeking your approval and love. More than anything, they want you to be proud of them.
3.  5 year olds LIE. All the time. Every day. They don't lie because they're bad. They lie because they don't want to disappoint you. But they DO lie. Be on the lookout. And don't let them get away with it.
4. 5 year-olds want to hang out with you. They want you to play with them, take them to a movie, or go to the park. Enjoy and embrace this time...because it won't last long.
5. 5 year-olds want you to ask them about their day. So many things "happen" to them in a given day, and they want to tell you every little detail: from who shared their Goldfish crackers with them at lunch to who called their teacher "Mommy" by mistake.
6. 5 year-olds are smart. And manipulative. They are good at trying to manipulate adults. Give them clear limits and boundaries and don't let them take advantage of you.
7. It's ok for your 5 year old to be bored. But you need to teach them how to deal with that boredom and entertain themselves. (And I'm not talking about tv and video games.) It's also ok for them to fail at something. Teach them how to fail gracefully and to try to achieve another goal. They need to know that they can't win or be the best at everything.
8. When a teacher contacts you about a problem with your 5 year-old, take the teacher's side. Nine times out of ten the teacher is right and your 5 year-old needs to know that that you value and respect their teacher and that you are not going to bail them out if they're in the wrong.
9. 5 year-olds are still almost babies. If they're grumpy, it's probably because they're hungry or tired. Give them a snack and have them lay down for awhile. They'll likely be much more reasonable afterwards.
10. 5 year-olds are motivated by two things: food and toys. Use that to your advantage.
11. Teach your 5 year-old how to have a conversation with an adult and how to be polite and respectful to those in an authority position. 
12. I can tell the way you talk to your child by the way they talk to me and their peers. Don't yell AT your child. Talk TO them. Don't call your child stupid or any other derogatory name. It's amazing how quickly I can tell which students have to put up with demeaning talk and bad attitudes from their PARENTS. And then the parent comes in complaining that their kid is in trouble all the time. I wonder why.
13. You don't have to be the "cool" parent. Just be a parent who loves, respects, and cares for their child.
14. Your 5 year old adores you. And only wants the same from you in  return.

xoxo, mrs. miller

Sunday, April 27, 2014

she obviously doesn't know me very well.

Another weekend coming to a close.
This one was pretty much a waste.
I'm sick and basically laid on the couch the majority of the time.
This little lady joined me after I brought her home from the groomer.

Anyways, I thought I'd share this little gem. I found it on my desk at the end of the day on Friday while I was packing up:

"My teacher's name is Mrs. Miller. She is the most best teacher ever. Mrs. Miller likes vegetables so she can be healthy and grow muscles in the lunch room. And she is nice to me. I know she flips cards to yellow and blue, and orange and red. But that's ok. You can not fuss. You can try again. The end."

Things I love about this little story: The fact that she thinks I like vegetables...she obviously doesn't know me very well. The way she spelled vegetables- vegethebulls. The fact that she left this on my desk at the end of a lonnnnng week. The fact that she was 4 years old at the beginning of the year and could barely write her name. And that she is one of the few who understands our card flip behavior system and doesn't feel the need to kick walls when her card is flipped...she knows you can "chrie" again.

Two more things before I go...
Look who popped up on my Pandora today?

I went to high school with Zach! We were dance partners in musicals in high school and used to hang out quite a bit after Friday night football games. This is from his first album, and he's currently working on his second. I remember him playing piano and singing to us girls in high school...so it's pretty crazy to see him show up on my Pandora! Check him out if you like country.

We also got a new little nephew this week, Silas James. We're heading down this next weekend to meet him, and I can't wait! Just look how proud Caleb is of him...I melt!

Until next time.
xoxo, wife.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

cat in the box

A little Good Friday entertainment at the Miller house.
There was a box, so naturally Bubba made himself at home.

And then suddenly, some long orange thing snuck up behind him!

This guy.
He's pretty cool.

xoxo, wife.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a bad case of splints.

Shin splints, that is.

So last time I wrote this great post about working out. I think I mentioned that my legs had been bugging me.
Well they kept getting worse. I was complaining and Ty and I both figured it was just sore muscles.
But then a couple days (and a couple workouts) later I said, "This is more than sore muscles. This is pain. Like...my BONES hurt."
Then Ty said that perhaps I strained something.
After I explained it some more he said, "You know, that sounds like shin splints."
So I WebMD'd it.
And by golly, that's what it is.
And it sucks.

I took two days off to rest, because the website said to rest for awhile.
I didn't want to lose my drive, so tonight I thought I'd do the elliptical.
You know, lower impact and all.
After a mile and a half, I noticed that my legs were really starting to hurt.
But I like to end on an even number.
So I decided to keep going until I got to 2 miles.
Bad idea.
After my two miles, I stepped off the elliptical and onto the ground.
And pain shot up my left leg.
You know...the leg that didn't hurt quite as bad before.
And while I was walking up from the basement I realized that I did much more damage.


So now this is me.

Stupid splints.

xoxo, wife.

Monday, April 14, 2014

today i was a fun teacher

The Monday after Spring Break is never a very good one.
I decided that I'd do my best to make it a fun day so that we'd all feel a little better about being in a window-less basement classroom instead of at home having fun.

So for math, I planned a fun graphing lesson. In the spirit of Easter, I decided we'd graph jelly beans!

We started by sorting the jelly beans by color.

Then we graphed! We spent the week before Spring Break learning about graphs: what they are, why we use them, and how we use them. So they were all ready to get to work!

Since they're only in kindergarten, I'm so used to walking them through EVERY LITTLE THING step by step. But now that they're almost in first grade, I'm finding that I can step back a little and let them do more on their own, which is sad...but also rewarding. I really didn't have much to do during the graphing, except walk around and check to see that they were doing it right. And they were!

Then after we graphed our jelly beans, we added up the different colors we had.

They wrote down how many of each color they had, and then added the colors together. 

So there you go. Sorting, counting, graphing, and addition all in one math lesson. And it was fun!
And yes, I let them eat the jelly beans when they were finished.
My favorite quote from today: "I love doing math with you, Mrs. Miller. This is so fun!"

xoxo, Mrs. Miller

Sunday, April 13, 2014


You're reading this on Sunday, but I'm writing Saturday night.
And I need you to know something.
My legs HURT!
I've been doing that whole "working out" thing that people are always talking about.
And it sucks.
But it works.

I'm here today to document my workouts from this past week.
Because I think this is the first time in my life that I've been consistently active for two weeks.
And now that I'm putting it into writing, hopefully it'll keep me more accountable.
Because if I'm not going to stick with this, then why the heck have I been torturing myself for two weeks?

Monday: 45 minute brisk walk on treadmill.
Tuesday: Started the Couch to 5K workout. Week 1 Day 1
Wednesday: Couch to 5K. Week 1 Day 2
Thursday: 2 miles on Elliptical
Friday: 1 mile on Elliptical (because my legs were sore from the day before!)
Saturday: Couch to 5K. Week 1 Day 3 (and that completes the first week of the workout! Only 7 more to go!)

This week I've conquered a major fear.
I've shared before that I've been diagnosed with Anxiety.
I rarely have panic attacks anymore.
But my anxiety flares up big time if I feel like I can't breathe.
And obviously when I work out, I get out of breath.
This panic has been a major factor in why I've never consistently worked out.
But this week I've pushed myself.
And I'm learning that even if I'm out of breath, I'll catch it eventually.
Nothing bad has happened while working out this week...besides the incredibly sore legs.
And the past two days, my workouts have been panic free.
If you're keeping score, that's Lisa: 1, Anxiety: 0.

I'm proud of myself for keeping with this for more than 5 minutes.
And I really hope that I'll keep having the desire to workout and get in shape.
And now that I've put it out here on the internet, I think I kind of have to keep it up.

xoxo, wife.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I mentioned the other day that I've been doodling and playing around with some lettering lately.
Here's a little bit of what I've been working on:

My plan is to take some of these and put them on canvases. 

xoxo, wife.

Friday, April 11, 2014

raging anger of a dieting job-seeker

Yesterday I sat down to fill out job applications for next school year.
I already had some stuff filled out, but was waiting on letters of recommendation to finish them.
I scanned everything in yesterday morning, and was ready to start submitting.


...my scanner made my college transcript document "too large" and it wouldn't upload.
So, many of my applications are still sitting un-submitted.
Except Elkhart.

Thank you, Elkhart, for being the one corporation that would accept my large transcript.

I was starting to get crabby. 
I'd been working on applications since 10:00am and it was now nearing 3:30.
I'm currently dieting.
And on Spring Break.
For your information, on Spring Break I want to pig out on sweets. 
But I'm not.
So I was kind of grouchy.

I began working on another corporation's application.
This one had an INSANE amount of essay questions.
Which was making me even more grouchy.
Because they all had to be 1000 characters or less.
Not 1000 WORDS...1000 CHARACTERS.
Do you know how much 1000 characters is?
Like 3 sentences.
For some very important questions.
So I sat there for about an hour and a half and wrote and rewrote the stupid essay answers.
I had finally finished.
I clicked the "next" button at the bottom of the page to continue to the next page.
Then I see this message: "Your application has timed out. Please log-in again."
So I log in again.
All my pages are there...EXCEPT the freaking essay page! An hour and a half of work...gone!

So I sat down and did the whole thing again...and when I clicked "next" again...

Oh, the rage.
Oh, the anger!
I yelled a string of profanities and stormed away from the computer.
Me and my rumbling tummy couldn't take it anymore.
I went to the bathroom.
Checked my social media.
Shot some glaring looks at the computer.
Cursed my stupid diet.
Cursed the sweets that I wanted to eat.
At the end of my fit of rage, this is where I found the dog.

In her kennel...scared for her life. (Just kidding, she wasn't in there because I was stomping around and yelling...at least I don't think so.)

Then I took a deep breath.
Told myself to "get it together, Lisa."
And decided to get back to work.
However, I made some changes.
Instead of working at the kitchen table with soft music playing, I parked myself on the couch.
With the television on...Dance Moms to be exact.
I wanted to have hear other raging anger.
And I got back to work.
Rewriting those dang essay questions...AND SAVING THEM THIS TIME!
With the dog by my side now.

This school had better hire me.

xoxo, wife.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

life lately.

First off, I have to start by saying that it's Spring Break. 
And I'm excited about it.
Sleeping in until 8:00, doing whatever I want-whenever I want, and not having boogers on me at the end of the day is pretty refreshing.

In honor of Spring Break, I got Abby this adorable little dress last weekend. 
We've been calling her "Princess."

On rare occasions these two lay together. And it has to be captured...because it probably won't happen again for another 3 months.

Ty came upstairs from working out. He took off his socks and was pretending to put them in my face. Then he said, "I'll give you $5 if you hold my sweaty socks for 15 seconds." 
I'm unashamed to say that I took him up on that offer.
Then I gagged and washed my hands for 45 minutes.
Afterwards Ty said, "I'll give you $20 to lick my sweaty armpit."
I'm unashamed to say that I considered it.
But I declined.

This little corner of my sofa-table makes me happy. My mom painted that mason jar for me. 

I made Red Lobster biscuits with dinner the other night. Of course they weren't exactly the same, but they were pretty darn close. YUM!

I upgraded my iPhone4 to an iPhone5C. I ordered this super cute case to put on it.
After only a week and a half, my case broke.
And I don't even remember dropping my phone.
No worries though. I promptly went to Target and found another cute case.

In my down time this week,  I've been working on my hand-lettering. 
It's extremely calming.
I'm finding that I love how letters fit together to make words.
It's really beautiful.
Or corny. 
I'll let you be the judge of that.

A couple nights ago I started the Couch to 5K program that trains you to run a 5K.
Will I actually run a 5K?
Probably not.
Will I even stick it out the 8 weeks it takes to train you?
But it's a heck of a workout.
The whole time I pretty much want to punch myself in the face.
But afterwards I feel pretty good about myself.

And finally, Bubba has been enjoying my Spring Break. 
He gets to drink the last little blow-back from my morning protein shake from my cap.
He's a fan of strawberry banana.
Or perhaps is just intrigued by the fact that he's drinking something other than water.
Either way, he now comes running when I open it each morning.
Sorry Bubba...I'm going back to work Monday, where I will drink my protein shake at exactly 7:30 before the kids come in the room.

xoxo, wife.