August 23, 2011

Welcome to Kindergarten

Here's a peek at my kindergarten classroom:

View from the door...

View from the middle of the room...

I never have to hear "I need to go to the bathroom" again. Kiddos grab a stick, hold it up, and I nod "yes" or "no". Genius.

Here's our class promise from Reading with Meaning. We do it at the beginning of each year.

Soon, their self portraits will be hanging around the promise. It turns out SO cute!

When someone show kindness in the classroom, they get to clip a "warm fuzzy" to their shirt. When someone show kindness back to them, they get to pass it on.

Our class currency...BUG BUCKS!

The writing center...

Book boxes that will soon be filled with "good-fit" books and books of interest.

My picture books are once again organized by category (thanks mom) and will soon have picture labels to match.

I do my days in school, odd/even, ten frames, number chats, tallies and skip counting separately from my morning calendar/weather.

Backpack hooks...

Happy puffs above my desk...

Pre-filled birthday bags (thanks again, mom). I just tear them off of the wall and have them place them in their backpacks to open at home. It's SO simple. Also, since they're displayed all year, they get really excited about taking one home.

I am LOVING these gorgeous flowers that I received as a gift from one of my sweet, new kiddos. I hope they live FOREVER.

My "office"...if you will.

My door...

Our kindergarten hallway...

...and that's it for now! Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Day 2 of kindergarten is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY better than Day 1! I'm so proud of my little bugs.

August 21, 2011

Ready or Not...Here They Come!

Today, my classroom was quiet and still. Tomorrow (bright and early) it will be buzzing with the sound of excited kiddos, flashing cameras and yes...teary mommas. The first day of school is here again, and after 7 years of teaching, I still get butterflies. Tonight I will undoubtedly dream that I've overslept, my car won't start and that I'm covered in my grande americano (and, of course, wearing nothing but underwear). Yes, it's here again and I welcome it with open arms.

To all of my teacher friends out there: have a GREAT first day of school. I just know this is going to be the best year yet. Enjoy your new kiddos, be firm but kind and PLEASE don't lose any of them!!! Remember that you're making a difference by creating a safe environment for your little ones to learn and grow...that's a HUGE responsibility. So tomorrow, when your adrenaline is pumping, you can't quite "shoo" away lingering parents and you're counting down to happy hour...take a moment to breathe in, breathe out...and pat yourself on the back. We've got this!

August 6, 2011

Oatmeal Creme Pies

I literally got stuck in my shorts and nothing seems to fit...I blame Little Debbie. Damn her and her delicious, processed goodies.

2011 has been a tough one so far--full of highs and lows--highs on the scale and lows in life. For the first time, I've experienced intense anxiety and overwhelming insecurities. From food to anxiety to food, food, food, food, FOOD--I'm finally starting to gain control of both.

I've spent my life feeling on top of the world. True, there have been some challenges along the way but for the most-part, it's been fabulous. This year, however, has been a HUGE wake-up call.

It all began in February...somewhere in the midst of all of the snow days, I found my crazy. I believe everyone has a little crazy in them; it just emanates itself in different ways. If you haven't found yours yet...LOOK OUT!

All of a sudden, I felt a huge sense of loneliness, insecurity and self-pity--all feelings I'd never truly dealt with--especially not all at once. I was overwhelmed with intense, physical and emotional anxiety. Simple everyday tasks felt like running a marathon. If something triggered my anxiety throughout the day, I became completely useless. My eating disorder was back--with full force. I was consumed with hopelessness and doubt and couldn't grasp where these feelings were coming from. To put it simply: I was out of control.

In April, I began seeing a counselor (as an alternative to medication). It's been great. I'm making progress, learning a lot about myself, and though difficult and somewhat contrived, thanking God for this journey. I'm feeling as things are getting back to normal...and I like that.

The good news? I've learned that I'm never truly alone. I've spent the last 25 years as a Christian but was never all that concerned about having a personal relationship with God. This Ginny Owens song pretty much sums up where I'm at:

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

DANG, Ginny Owens...dang.

More good news: I'm doing REALLY well. I'm fortunate enough to have a loving husband and supportive family. I feel good and feel like myself again. I maybe have 1-2 tough days a month...who doesn't? There's a light at the end of this tunnel and I can see it. That being said, I could still use your prayers but please don't feel sorry for me. This is something that I had to go through and I'm coming out on the other end stronger because of it. And for that, I"m grateful.

The weight part? I've gained a little but I'm about a month sober from my destructive eating habits. Even though my clothes don't quite fit, I've thrown away the oatmeal creme pies and I'd say that's a good start!

August 3, 2011

Weekend in Fredericksburg

Scott and I always talk about little getaways but it never turns into anything. This past weekend, we took the plunge and visited Fredericksburg, Texas for two nights...and would have stayed a third if we could.

The week prior, Scott kept mentioning a weekend trip. I didn't take him too seriously because he's always talking about vacations (especially during baseball season). However, each day when he arrived home from work, he'd mention it again. We both poked around on Trip Advisor and other sites, trying to find last minute anywhere nearby. NOTHING. We kept saying that if we couldn't find what we were looking for, we'd at least go to Ft. Worth for the weekend.

Even as Scott left for work on Friday morning, we hadn't found anything, really. Funny, because the plan was to leave early afternoon. Hmmm...

By 9:00, he emailed me info on The Blue Bungalow on Orange Street and by 9:30, it was ours for the weekend! Luckily, the family that had rented it for the entire month of July had left a few days was a done deal. We were excited.

After dropping off our dear Sadie B at the in-laws, we were on our way by about 3:00. We took the scenic route, rather than 35, and it was extra twisty-turny but much more interesting. We arrived in the quiet little town of Fredericksburg around 8:00.

It wasn't that dark yet, so we walked around the outside of the property to check it all out. It was beyond adorable (with the exception of the creepy basement) and we couldn't believe that we had the whole place to ourselves. A bottle or two of wine later, we called it a night.

The next morning, we woke up, Scott cooked breakfast, and then we went out on the town for the most important start to the day...COFFEE. Shop, shop, shop, shop, shop, shop...GERMAN FOOD and BEER (which, BTW, you can walk up and down Main Street with--so naturally, I had one to-go). Shop, shop...WHAT? This whole town shuts down at 6:00 on a Saturday. Goodness. *side-note: many of you would be PROUD to know that with all that shopping, I didn't buy a thing...impressive, right?*

We headed back to the house to get ready for dinner (which, on vacation, is a HUGE ordeal for me). After a short photo-shoot in the backyard (that Scott refused to participate in), we went back out to the main drag. It was a freaking ghost town out there. We weren't quite yet hungry, so we decided to do a sampler at the Fredericksburg Brewery. Nothing amazing, but not too shabby.

Now what? We relied on good old Yelp to guide us for the evening and we ended up in Luckenbach. You cannot beat the fabulous people watching, chicken avoiding, and ice cold beer this place has to offer. Not to mention that the property is gorgeous at night. We definitely recommend it. Luckenbach exceeded our expectations.

Sunday morning, we went to a delicious breakfast, shopped a bit, then started to pack up for the drive back.

On the way out of town, we stopped at the local Goodwill (as I'm VERY into refinishing furniture these days). We found a steal of a deal--a bench thingy--for $15.99! It would have been $200 at the Salvation Army in Plano (that place is a joke). I was soooooooooo pumped.

Naturally, we had to stop at one of the vineyards just outside of Fredericksburg. We picked only one, Becker, and hoped we had chosen wisely. We weren't disappointed. Again, a beautiful property and great experience. We did a tasting, and our server Henri, was the BEST. What great way to end our little getaway.

On the way home, Scott decided to take 35...which he soon regretted. The traffic was the WORST. But eventually, we made it back to McKinney.

All-in-all, it was a fabulous weekend and we're glad we did it!