Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Must Haves

Thank goodness it's October.  That means September is over.  With the last month being one of the most stressful I've had in a long time, I'm glad it's behind me.

Even though fall has started, the summer weather is reluctantly leaving us here in the Northwest.  In my part of Oregon, we were very fortunate to have an extended summer with warm, dry days throughout the last month.  I think that's one of the things that helped me get through starting my new job.

For Monday Listicles, Stasha assigned us the topic of ten things we must have for fall.  Or autumn.  Whatever you call it.

Ten Fall Must Haves

1.  Leaves turning on our dogwoods and falling to the ground, creating a crunchy blanket to walk on.

2.  Brilliant reds and yellows on the deciduous trees.

3.  Wear a jacket in the morning weather.

4.  Hot apple cider.  A teacher in my school has the scent of apple-cinnamon coming from her classroom and even though I don't drink it very often, I crave a cup whenever I walk past.

5.  Drinking tea with my husband before bed.  It's been our nightly ritual during the cool weather months for the past several years.  In fact, we're having our first cup tonight.

6.  Wearing my fleece pullover before bed.

7.  Giant pumpkins which become...

8.  Jack o' Lanterns.

9.  Soups and stews made in the crock-pot.

10.  Thanksgiving.  Family, food, relaxation, appreciation.  It's one of my favorite holidays.

What is one of your must haves for fall/autumn?

P.S.  I actually like the word 'autumn' much more, but I've always called it fall and people in my region call it that, too.  Maybe when I have more energy and time I'll start a campaign to switch.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ten Things In My Classroom

Happy (almost) Monday!  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  The stress of my new job overtook me for a few weeks and sadly kept me away from blogging.  But since I'm feeling a bit more like myself this weekend, I'm dipping my toe back in and very glad to be doing so with Monday Listicles.

This week's topic was to make a list of ten things Home.  I'm going to go a little different direction and give you a list of ten things in my classroom.  After all, it's a bit like a new home to me at this point.

Ten Things In My Classroom

1.  Bulletin boards covered in yellow paper.  I'm hoping the color will help remind me of the warm days of summer when the gray skies and rain set in.

2.  Mini-refrigerator.  I used to put my lunch in my colleague's refrigerator last year, but I am borrowing one from some friends' now and have stocked it up with snacks and things I can use to supplement my lunch.  It has saved me a lot of time packing up in the mornings, which is always good!

3.  My garage sale find Ikea chairs.  The kids love them, although I haven't found very much time to sit in one yet.

4.  My desk chair.  I won an award a few years ago where part of my prize was a new chair.  It's leather and cushy, so even though I don't make it to the Ikea chairs very much, it's pretty nice to sit in at my desk.

5.  My school laptop.  I use this a lot, from filling out forms, to looking up information on a student, to writing emails.  I'm enjoying the laptop because it doesn't take up a lot of room on my desk.

6.  My coffee maker.  I haven't been drinking as much coffee as I used to, but I use it to heat up water to make tea.

7.  Posters.  After ten years of teaching English and literacy, I had to buy posters that would help kids with math.  I even have a number line with positive and negative integers.

8.  Student computers.  Luckily, I have five computers for students to use when needed.  They've already been put to good use for writing poems and research assignments.

9.  My binder with student goals and objectives.  I put together this binder with all of the important information I need as I go into classrooms throughout the day.  This organizational system has saved me on several occasions already.

10.  My students.  Yes, students are people, not things.  But they are very important in my classroom.  I've really enjoyed getting to know them so far.  Despite the stress of the job change, my motivation is the same: advocate for and help my students.

Have a great start to the week!

Friday, August 31, 2012

NaBloPoMo August Finish Line and TGIF

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  It's also the last day of August and that means that school is about to start for kids here, summer living is coming to a close, and this is my last NaBloPoMo August entry.

At the beginning of the month, I committed to writing a blog post every day during August.  I had hoped to get my writing jump started again, as I had been suffering from a mild case of writer's block.  Although I missed a handful of days this month, I thing I did was to try new ideas for posting.  Rather than the traditional write on a topic type of post, I began using quotes combined with pictures that spoke to how I was feeling at the moment.  It was something new and different for me and it challenged me to figure out how to use some of the tools on my computer I don't normally use.

And speaking of challenges, starting my new job this month has been a huge one.  I've made it through my first week and although I think I may be on the verge of crying from feeling overwhelmed by all of the information I've taken in, I'm happy and proud of myself for how much I've accomplished since I've started.  This is going to be a hard year, but I hope at the end of it I'll feel like I've added a new dimension to myself as a teacher.

I want to finish this last post of NaBloPoMo August with some things that make me happy:

1.  Like I mentioned above, I survived my first week of my new job as a Special Education teacher.  This week was a teacher preparation week.  Next week, the kids come.  That's when life is going to get very real.

2.  Our kids were down at my in-laws' this past week.  My mother-in-law graciously offered to take care of them since their summer program had ended.  We really enjoyed the quiet house and getting ready so quickly in the mornings.

3.  Our kids are home.  It felt good to hug them again.

4.  I will get to walk tomorrow morning.

5.  Labor Day weekend will give us one last chance to enjoy the warm weather of summer before we get back in the routine.

What's making you happy?

I'm linking up with Just Jennifer for TGIF.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Déjà vu

Our kids are with my in-laws this week.  The summer program our older two were in ended last week and my mother-in-law very graciously offered to take the kids.  

With no kids around and a new job, I'm having this surreal feeling of deja vu from ten years ago.

Back then, we were newly married with no kids and I had just started the job at my last school.  I didn't know anyone there and I was scrambling to figure out how to be a real life teacher.

I guess life really does have a way of repeating itself.  Kind of.  Luckily, I knew one person coming into the new school.  And having ten years under my belt helps me to not feel so panicked.  Although I have had one dream about Special Education paperwork so far.  One of many to come, I'm afraid.

My husband and I are enjoying the quiet and I like being able to get out the door to work so easily in the morning.  I'm going to have to get up a lot earlier starting next week when the kids are back.  

So far, we've had one quiet evening at home, one evening working at our dining room table to help ourselves get ahead in our respective jobs, and tonight we first went to a social gathering with people from my new school, then out to dinner together.  Tomorrow we're hoping to double date with some friends.

Then it will be time to pick them up and bring them home.  Our house won't be so quiet anymore and we'll be breaking up arguments, but getting more hugs, too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Sweet Moment

My husband and oldest son, while we were on a Saturday morning walk.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Living in 2012

Happy Monday!  I survived my first day back to work at a new school.  The people are lovely, my classroom is getting close to presentable (thanks to the hours I put in last week), and I haven't delved into any of the paperwork yet.  So far, so good!

Stasha assigned us the topic of Ten Clues We Are Living in 2012.  Anja from Cocalores came up with the idea.

Ten Clues We Are Living in 2012

1.  Need to know something?  Look it up online on your computer smartphone.

2.  In 2010, we cracked up at the idea of the iPad (well, I did anyway).  Was it a giant phone?  Was it an electronic feminine product?  In 2012, it's coveted.

3.  Unfortunately, too small booty shorts are back.  And even more unfortunately, we are seeing many booties because of it.

4.  A couple of years ago, there was a whole lot of excitement about the world coming to an end in 2012.  I expect that should pick back up in about a month.  Or not.  Maybe people will be too busy on their smartphones to notice.

5.  I've been married, a teacher, and living in Portland for ten years.  There were a lot of major life events for me in 2002.

6.  You can find gluten-free beer and lots of other gluten-free products.  I'm not on a gluten-free diet, but I have a couple of extended family members who are, so I've noticed.

7.  Our first African-American president is fighting for reelection.

8.  It's normal to see someone talking on a Bluetooth.  I don't automatically think the other is crazy and talking to himself like I used to.

9.  The postal service is struggling to stay relevant in a world of electronic communication.

10.  We're two years about from having flying cars.  Well, according to Back to the Future, that is.

How do you know it's 2012?


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Change is inevitable, isn't it?  I've talked about a big change I'm going through in my career right now, but everyone goes through change in one form or another, some big and some small.  Those bigger changes especially are the hardest ones to deal with, especially if we don't ask for it.  Many teachers in my district who were transferred to new positions are dealing with this right now.  And even when we want a change, like I did, it's hard to leave what we know behind.  Small changes, the ones that happen every day, like our children growing up, can seem to happen without us even realizing it, and then one day, it hits us.  Life is totally different than what it used to be.

Change certainly seems to be the only constant.

I found this quote that describes how I feel very well.

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."  -Anatole France