Sunday, February 22, 2015

kindergarten teacher olympics.

Clearly, teachers should get to have an Olympic Games.
It wouldn't have the traditional sports though.
Now, I love me some swimming, gymnastics, bobsledding, etc.
But I can't do any of that.
I CAN however, easily compete in every competition that would be in the Kindergarten Teacher Olympics.
Event #1: Holding It.
I think I've mentioned before that I often get ONE restroom break during the day...IF I'm lucky.
But the majority of my kids go at least 3 times a day...most of them more.
And they STILL pee their pants.
I however, never get to pee.
And I'll just put it out there that I drink a TON of water during the school day.
Enough said.
Event #2: Using Your Teacher Voice.
PS. For this event, I would definitely need this sweatshirt.

In a classroom full of 20 five year olds, it can often be hard to be heard.
And it can often be difficult to keep control of your herd.
Enter, Teacher Voice.
It's loud. It's firm. It gets the job done.
I use it a lot.
Sometimes even on my dog. Or my husband.
And depending on the circumstances of the day, I think I might be able to take gold in this event.
(The Teacher Voice is NOT yelling, however. I don't like to yell at them.)
Event #3: Power Copying.

I have 20 students.
When we take a test, that's 20 copies.
When we have a homework packet each week, there are typically 7 pages in it.
Times my 20 students.
Plus every worksheet or activity that we do throughout the day.
I'd hate to know how much paper I use a week.
Or how many trees I've used in my career thus far.
But I'm a champ at Power Copying.
This means staying late and pumping out copy after copy, trying to get things prepared for your week.
That is, if the copy machine actually works...which in our case, it usually doesn't.
Event 4: Multitasking During Individual Assessments.
This would be my prime event.
Again, I have 20 students.
In Kindergarten, we constantly assess each student over multiple tasks.
For example: counting.
At least once a week, I assess each of my students on counting.
Now, maybe it's just me.
But I can only listen to a kid count to 100 so many times before I go crazy.
So to keep my sanity, I multitask.
While one of my lovlies is counting to me, I grade papers.
I monitor other students' behavior.
I check email.
It's amazing what you can do while you listen to someone count.
Because it's so ingrained in your brain, that you instantly catch it if they mess up.
Event 5: Lysol Consumption
In case you did't know, kids are gross!
They carry so many germs.
So far this year my kids have passed around the stomach flu, multiple colds, strep throat, pink eye, and boogers.
Even though it's much easier to teach when multiple kids are absent, I don't like it when my kids miss.
So I do what I can to prevent absenses.
Hence the Lysol Consumption Competition.
I bet I could Lysol other Kindergarten teachers out of the building.
I go through those Lysol spray cans like they're going out of style.
I have tons of the wipes too.
Event 6: Shoe Tying, Buttoning, Zipping, Belt Buckling.
The most exciting competition in the games by far.
If Kindergarten teachers were to go down the whole line of their students, being timed on how long it took to tie both of their shoes, button and zip up their pants, and buckle their belts, there would be some fierce competition.
We certainly get enough practice time in each day.
(Although I will admit, I usually stop tying shoes in October. "Go find a friend who can help.")
The winter games would include putting on gloves, zipping up coats, tying scarves, and putting on boots. In the winter, we start getting ready to go almost 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the year.
So those would be the six main events in the Kindergarten Teacher Olympics.
I think I could medal in most of them.
xoxo, wife.
PS: If anyone would like to know where to buy the Teacher Voice Sweatshirt, you can find it here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

saw it. pinned it. did it #3.

You guys. I found it. The magical formula I've been searching for all my married life.

I've finally found the solution for getting that oily, sticky residue off my toaster!

No clue where it came from, but over the years, our toaster has collected this layer of nastiness that I could NOT get off. No cleaning solution I own could ever take care of this grime. I merely moved it around. So I began to just push the toaster into the corner, trying to ignore how gross it was.

But in my (every-once-in-awhile) attempt to be more domestic, I found a pin on Pinterest that promised to take care of it. It said all I needed was Cream of Tarter and water. I was skeptical, but I pinned it anyway. And then, just like my toaster, I ignored it. Because it probably wasn't going to work anyway.

But yesterday, on Snow Day #2 this week, I made a PopTart for breakfast. And while that PopTart was cooking, I stared at the toaster. And I couldn't take it any longer. So I busted out my laptop and found that pin on my "Domesticate Myself" board. And I got my supplies and nasty toaster ready.

The nice thing was, I already had all the supplies on-hand. 


So I mixed about 2 tbsp of the Cream of Tarter with some water until it made a paste-like substance. Then I used my scrubby and some elbow grease. The website said to wipe it off with a paper towel, but that didn't work for me. This was a whole other level of grime, I tell ya! After I scrubbed, I had to wipe it off with a wet rag and THEN use the paper towel to dry it. Anyway, it WORKED! I was amazed. Here are the results:

You wanna rub it, don't you? It's okay, I've done it every time I've walked by. It's like having a brand-new 5 year old toaster! Instead of being shoved in the corner, I want to display it in a place of honor! I want to use it as a mirror to apply my makeup! I've now instated a "no one is ever allowed to use the toaster again" rule in our house. It's so shiny and perfect.

The same kind of residue was on our microwave door too (I think all this stuff comes from cooking on the stove-top). So I used the same method and it now looks shiny and perfect too!


Lessons I learned during this project:
1. Do not vacuum before cleaning your toaster. You will have burnt crumbs all over the freaking place when you're done, and you'll have to vacuum again. Even if you already dumped them out before you began. Seriously, you'll have no clue that this many crumbs could even fit in there. But your dog will enjoy it.
2. The Cream of Tarter smell will still be on your hands after multiple washes. It seems to permeate into your pores. I didn't even know that Cream of Tarter had a smell until today. It's not my favorite.

The next things on my "OMG-I-Can't-Find-Anything-That-Will-Clean-This" list are the grates for our burners on the stove. I have a few pins for that too, but again, I'm a skeptic (and most involve ammonia) it may be awhile before I tackle that.

Becoming more domestic one appliance at a time.

xoxo, wife.

Friday, February 20, 2015

my take on Lent this year.

I normally think long and hard about what I'm going to give up for Lent each year. This year I felt different about it. Normally I'll give up sweets or pasta...whine and complain about it for 40 days, and then stuff myself silly with those things once Easter comes. Yes, I made a sacrifice...but for not even 2 months. And then I went back to what I'd been doing all along.

Not that there's anything wrong with fact, I'm sure I'll do it again in the future.

But this year, I didn't necessarily want to give something up. I wanted to ADD something to my day. I've been seriously lacking with my devotionals lately. So I decided that during Lent this year, I'd spend less time focusing on my social media feeds, and more time studying God's word. (So perhaps in a way, I am sacrificing some of my Facebook time.)

I love to participate in She Reads Truth bible studies and devotionals, and I've decided to study with them during the Lenten season this year. I was just reading the devotion for today, and this quote stuck out to me:

"Lent is a pause button. It's a quiet unlike any other time of year. Lent is a season to close our eyes as the busy world buzzes around us, to consider those things we'd much rather forget: our sins and our humanity. We came from dust, and to dust we will return."

That pretty much put my feelings into words. Instead of making a big deal about not being able to eat a cookie, I'm going to spend time in quiet each day...pausing to remember my sins...and to be grateful that Jesus forgives them.

I used to do my devotions daily. I'm disappointed that I'd sloughed off lately. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit. I have 40. So I'm hopeful that this quiet journey of mine through this Lenten season will help renew my eagerness to sit down each night after work with my bible, instead of my cell phone. There's nothing wrong with checking my social media. But not until after I've spent some quality time with Jesus.

xoxo, wife. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

my love/hate relationship with snow days.

I've lost track of how many snow days we've had at this point. Probably somewhere around 7 or 8. I have some seriously mixed feelings about them.

On the one hand, the feeling you get at 5:39am when you get that text that tells you to go back to sleep is just out of this world! Sitting on the couch in sweats when you would normally be teaching writing isn't too bad either. Staring out the window and hardly being able to see the house across the street is much warmer than actually being out in that nastiness. I get ridiculously happy when I find out we have a snow day.

On the other hand, we already don't get out of school until June 5. If we find out we have to tack on all these snow days, we'll be going to school until mid to late June. That's unacceptable for me. Today I will also miss out on about 48 hugs, 12 times of accidentally being called "Momma," and countless funny comments. 

So while I'll GLADLY take this day to clean up the house, get some work done, and binge-watch Netflix...I'll be grumbling on June 15th when I'm stuck inside my classroom with no windows on a gorgeous summer day.

xoxo, mrs. miller

Sunday, February 15, 2015

my thoughts on living tiny

I often think about my "dream home."

In this age of the internet, and especially Pinterest, it's so easy to find images upon images of these amazing houses with all this incredible decor.

When I think about my "dream home," I often picture some massive McMansion with gorgeous exterior. It has a beautiful wrap-around porch and sweet little balconies. There's a large, spacious kitchen with amazing barnwood floors and a huge living room with a fireplace underneath a large mantle where I can hang our stockings from Pottery Barn. The bedrooms are all large enough to contain all my many possessions and still have room to sprawl out (and I think it's assumed that there are CRAZY big walk-in closets.) I have my own craft-room and a separate office, while Ty has two Man Caves: one for his hunting things, and one for his sports-related items. There's tons of natural light coming from all our floor-to-ceiling windows with amazing window treatments from Anthropologie. And I won't even go into all the great things that I picture this "dream home" having for my children. It's beautiful. It's massive. And I'll never live in it. But a girl can dream, right?
I love learning new things, and watching/studying people. I'm very interested in how different people live. I think one of the main reasons I love reality television is getting a glimpse into another person's life, and how they live whether completely realistic or not. I recently stumbled upon a documentary called, "Tiny: A Story About Living Small." It follows a young couple with no construction experience who decide to build a tiny house and live on a chunk of land in the mountains. The whole documentary revolves around people who live in these "tiny houses," which are houses that are typically less than 200 square feet, and are on wheels, so as to avoid building permits and to be able to relocate easily.

I had no idea that these "tiny houses" were even a thing. But apparently, there are tons of people who live in them.

Living in these "tiny houses" is actually an entire movement. Most of the people who decide to live in them do so because they disagree with our current American values. We place so much importance on making money (at jobs we often hate) in order to buy things that we don't really need. So many of us are living WAY above our means, and it usually comes back to our greed. We all want more. We want bigger. We want the best. We want others to be envious of what we have. "Tiny house" owners are also usually environmentally conscious. A smaller house means less to heat, less electricity. Most use solar panels. And most have no mortgage and more money in savings than their 2600 sq. ft. home counterparts.

I was impressed by the stories I heard in the documentary. These people who just decided to up and leave their 2600 sq. ft. homes and sell most of their possessions in order to live in these "tiny houses." They live so simply, and they all seemed perfectly content. Their homes all had electricity, working plumbing, and were decorated nicely. The creativity in storage spaces was neat too. There were tons of secret cubbies where things could be hidden from sight. Tables that fold out from the walls. Lofts for the bedroom.

I don't think I'd ever prefer to live in a home like this. Unfortunately, I AM too greedy. I like my stuff, I like my space, and most importantly, I'd like to have children someday and I want them to have space to run and play inside when the weather is bad. But I have to say that I was impressed by these couples/individuals who took on this lifestyle. And it's a growing trend. Just google "tiny houses," and there are tons of sites, pictures, blue prints, and plans. 

Like I said, I like learning about people and the way they live. This documentary really interested me, and inspires me to think a little more about my "dream home." Perhaps that home shouldn't be as much about large kitchens and insane walk-in closets. It should probably be more about the people I share it with, and being happy and content with what we have...and not always striving for more or better. So for now, my "dream home" is under renovation...and I like the direction it's moving in.

xoxo, wife

(All images found via Google images.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

valentine's day 2015

Instead of celebrating ON Valentine's Day this year, we decided to celebrate the day before. Our church held a marriage and we decided to attend. The night before, Ty gave me my gift, which he wanted me to wear when we went.

I absolutely couldn't believe it when I opened the box. They're beautiful! I told him it was way too much, and so generous of him! I couldn't wait to wear them.

The next day (Valentine's Eve) I felt the love from my kiddos at work.

We spent the day showing our "classroom family" how much we care for each other, and it was so much fun watching how excited they got to give each other their Valentine's. It was a fun, but incredibly exhausting day!

After work it was time to get dressed up and head to the marriage event. It's been a long time since we got dressed up for a date!

When we got there, each couple had their own table for two set up. It was so sweet! There were photographers there who were taking photos, a bar, and a polish buffet dinner. This was our table.

 We started out the evening mingling and talking with some other couples. We were trying to take a selfie when we had some photobombers!

We played a game where we had to work together to make something out of Legos in 60 seconds. This is what we came up with...

 We were asked to choose three words to describe our spouse and then spend some time talking about why we chose those three words.

There were a couple more activities (including a study on kissing, where we learned all the health benefits of kissing your spouse. All 60 couples at the event were asked to basically make out with each other for 5 seconds...which I'm pretty sure was more like 15. When we were finished, a middle aged woman in front of us shouted, "Let's do it again!)

Then there was dancing and our own personal cake. Which we ate half of. With little no shame.

We had such a good time. We go on dates all the time, but this one kind of forced us to connect and have discussions that we don't normally have. We spent the evening talking about why we love each other, reminiscing about our favorite dates and our past, and wondering about our future. It was a perfect night. Love is a truly magnificent thing, everyone. Cherish it!

xoxo, wife.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

i WebMD'd myself.

For about the last 10-12 years, people have often joked with me that they think I have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome.) I shake my legs a lot. I always just shrugged it off as a nervous habit...a side effect of my anxiety...something I did because I was bored. It really bothers some people (especially my husband), and I apparently do it quite often...although I don't always realize it.

Ty often will nudge me while watching tv or reading a book to "stop shaking so hard!" And I'll stop...only to start doing it again seconds later, sending my poor husband into a fit of motion-sickness (just kidding on that last part...or am I?)

I actually caught myself doing it the other I stopped. Then my legs started really bothering me. Like I literally couldn't NOT move them. I don't know how to describe the sensation, other than I could feel my legs more than the rest of my body. And then I realized that my legs had been bothering me in the evenings for quite some time. Then I remembered all the jokes about RLS, and though, "maybe they were right." So I hopped onto the trusty WebMD.

The following symptoms for Restless Leg Syndrome were listed on their site:

  • Strange sensations occurring deep in the legs. YES
  • Symptoms occur about 15 minutes after sitting or lying down to rest. YES
  • A compelling urge to move your legs to relieve the sensations. YES, definitely.
  • Restlessness, tossing and turning in bed, rubbing your legs. YES, although not necessarily tossing and turning...not often at least. I do find myself rubbing or softly hitting my legs to try to relieve the sensations.
  • Symptoms occur only when lying or sitting. YES
  • Sleep disturbance or daytime sleepiness. NO. Once I fall asleep, my legs don't bother me anymore.
  • Involuntary, periodic jerking movements that occur while asleep or while awake but at rest. YES...this doesn't happen too terribly often, but I'll notice my legs jerk while relaxing or while trying to fall asleep.
Now I'm not a doctor...but I'm pretty sure that 6 out of 7 symptoms seems to indicate that I have this condition. It's not severe enough to bring it to a doctor's attention, and I don't need medicine for it at this point. But I have been noticing this feeling in my legs a lot more in the last year or so...especially when I'm told to stop moving my's often unbearable until I move them again (I'm currently bouncing my leg up and down as I type this.) I'm learning that instead of shaking or bouncing though, that stretching them helps too...or getting up and walking.

Who knew that those people back in middle school were onto something when they joked that I had RLS! Long live the shaking...sorry husband!

xoxo, wife.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

one of my favorite posessions

Early on in our relationship, Ty told me that every girlfriend should receive 3 gifts from her boyfriend: flowers, one of his sweatshirts, and a teddy bear. I got all three.

The flowers and the sweatshirt were special, but I specifically remember the night he gave me the teddy bear. It was raining cats and dogs and we had a date at the movies. He gave me the teddy bear in the car on the way. When we were walking to the car after the movie, we noticed a humongous puddle (like a small lake, really) in front of his car. Instead of making me walk through it--instead of driving up for me to get in, he picked me up and carried me across. And my teddy bear was waiting safely on the car seat for me to snuggle on the drive home.

That bear is one of my favorite possessions. He hung out in my room when I lived at home, I slept with him every night when I lived on my own, and now he lives in a place of honor on my night stand. I'm honestly surprised that his "Ty" tag (haha, get it?) is still in tact, although it's pretty wrinkled. His name is Wittle, and he means so much to me. It was likely one of the least expensive gifts Ty has ever given me (and I'm not saying that I'd like a whole teddy bear family to go with him) but the fact that it was one of the first things he gave me is so special. The fact that it was one of the "three gifts" a girlfriend should get from her boyfriend. The fact that the teddy bear brings back memories of being carried across a lake-sized puddle after a date. It's all just incredibly special.

xoxo, wife.

Monday, February 9, 2015

the unhelpful assistant.

I was very productive for work this weekend. I got a lot of stuff done and have lots of ideas flowing. I even started a to-do list for all the projects I'd like to accomplish for the classroom.

On Sunday we went to Early Church, so I got home around 9:30. I thought, "What better way to spend this extra time than by getting some more work done?" So I sat myself up at my desk and got to work.

Little did I know, my assistant would show up. And he wasn't very helpful.

It was ridiculous! Every time I pushed him off the desk, he was right back up. Normally he doesn't want anything to do with me after I'm up and ready for the day, but when I'm in my office, he's all over me! (He's rubbing up against my legs and meowing at me as I type this!) He actually clung to me like glue the entire day...even following me to the bathroom! So even though it took me twice as long as normal to get any work done, it didn't TOTALLY bother me. 

He may not be a very helpful assistant...but he sure is good-looking.

xoxo, wife (crazy cat lady.)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

fastest delivery ever.

Perhaps someday I'll stop posting about my grant. But not yet!

I got an email yesterday before I left work saying that my LeapPads had been ordered. I got another email around 9:00 this morning saying that they'd shipped. I came back from the copy machine during my prep time around 12:15 to a giant box on my desk. I immediately screamed, and tore it open.

My LeapPads arrived 24 HOURS after my grant had been funded!

They're plugged in all over the house right now, and I'm patiently waiting for them to charge so that I can play around. I plan to get them all set up and get some apps downloaded so that I can unveil them to the kiddos on Monday. (I also have a new student starting Monday...he'll think our classroom is pretty darn cool with these LeapPads!) 

xoxo, Mrs. Miller

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

today was a good, good day.

  • I got to work this morning, opened my email, and saw that my Donor's Choose grant had been fully funded! I shrieked and did a happy dance in the hallway while proclaiming the news to all my co-workers. I'm so grateful to all my donors for their generosity. I'm blown away that the entire project was funded in only 4 days! I have some awesome supporters!
  • I had a pretty good hair day.
  • On Wednesdays, students leave at 2, but the staff stays for 2 hours of Professional Development. Today, we got an email saying that we were allowed to leave as soon as all our students were gone. I stayed to get lesson plans done for next week and was clocked out by 2:32.
  • I survived a somewhat treacherous drive home on snowy roads. 
  • Since I got home so much earlier than normal, I was able to get 70 minutes in on the treadmill and still have my entire evening ahead of me.

  • During that time on the treadmill, Pandora played all my favorite music. My "Workout Radio" channel is on point!
  • I made the choice to eat chicken instead of pasta for dinner. (I don't know what's getting into me lately!)
Life is good. Simple...but good.
(Another thanks to all my donors...I'm still happy dancin' all around the house!)

xoxo, wife.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

gettin' my "fit" on

Since I got my beloved FitBit, I've been much more motivated to be more active. Especially since people I work with can see just how active I've been on any given day.

I also recently decided to take part in a challenge from another blogger, Erin at Living In Yellow. It's called the 1800 Minute Challenge, and the goal is to be active 1800 minutes in 60 days. It started February 1st. I've already logged 197 minutes in the last 3 days.

It sucks getting started. But I tell ya...those endorphins are no joke! When I'm finished I feel pretty darn good. I'm hopeful that I can continue on in this challenge and get to that 1800 minute marker. If I do, I get entered into a drawing for a cash prize, which at this point is around $300. My odds of actually being picked are SLIM, but hopefully in two months I'll be slimmer too, which is better than money.

Let's do it!

xoxo, wife.