Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The New Normal

It is hard to believe I have been back at school for almost a month now. It all seems like a blur. My lazy summer days laying by the pool, strolling through Paris, watching Les Mis in London and eating Gelato in Italy are like distant memories. My days are now full of reminding children to sit criss-cross apple sauce on the floor, strolls down the hall with the students to wash hands, watching cartoons of nursery rhymes and eating only what I have time to throw in my lunch bag in those 5 minutes I have in the morning before I have to leave. It's a bit different, crazy and exhausting but I am slowly getting back into the routine and this is becoming the new normal in my life.

I am still babysitting these little rascals three nights a week after school. Between working full time, babysitting part time, taking two graduate classes, keeping up on my house hold responsibilities and still finding time for myself, everyone keeps telling me to stop babysitting. I can't do that. I love these sassy sisters and their crazy brothers. They have actually taught me quite a bit, for example...

It's not just little boys you have to worry about peeing on the floor in the restroom... oh no, little GIRLS do it too.

Moms don't have mini-vans because the trunk is more spacious, or their kids need more space, NO. Although those are perks. Moms get mini vans because squeezing three kids in the backseat leads to touching, poking, hitting, elbowing, teasing, fighting and just loud noises in general. Add another child in the front seat who spends the whole trip yelling at the others in the backseat. Its enough to drive me straight to Toyota of Stamford to trade my sedan in for a suburban where each kid gets there own ROW! Lol.

What to do when you are out in public and the child you are with has a melt down because they are about to loose a tooth and it hurst, and they are to scared to pull it out. You simply take them to the bathroom and say "Look, I've only pulled out my own teeth so I'm not really the one you want reaching in your mouth. Why don't you just close your eyes and pull really hard." 

Patience! It's not easy to come by but I am somehow developing more and more of it. My future children will thank me for developing this virtue before they get here. 

I babysat a few Saturdays ago and went to the girls first soccer game. It was so funny to watch the two teams of girls fight over the ball, kick it in the wrong goal, and get distracted by flowers on the field.  It was a pretty entertaining game. After the game we had to rush over to watch the last bit of Jackson's baseball game. Once that was over I took them out to eat at Burgers, Shakes and Fries. I have taken them out to eat several times before and I am always so impressed with how well behaved they are. They all ordered their own meal using their best manners. It was pretty impressive. After dinner we went to Stamford to get frozen yogurt at 16 Handles. While we were there James lost a tooth, so I had to take some pictures to document the event. It was a pretty eventful day and I loved every minute of it! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grad Classes

This semester I signed up for an early literacy class on Wednesday night. On my first night of class I quickly realized, to my pleasure, that I was already familiar with the content of the course. I have taken a few literacy classes at BYU-Idaho and took and passed the state literacy test. This class was going to be relatively easy. The only hard part would be surviving the teachers slightly scattered, really boring lectures. Especially after putting in a full days work on my feet tending to sweet, but needy 5 year olds.

After I was released from my calling and no longer had a Wednesday night commitment, I decided I would sign up for a second class, also offered on Wed night. It is called developmental literacy, I am glad both  my classes cover the topic of literacy as that is where my passion is. Since I signed up late for the class I missed the first week. Coming into a class new on the second week isn't my favorite thing. They have already done the introductions, gone over the syllabus, covered expectations and know what to expect. Luckily I was able to reach the professor prior to coming to class the first day so I knew what the assignment was for that night. I was to bring in a trade book (picture or chapter book written for kids) that related to that nights topic "beliefs about reading." I am lucky I work in an elementary school with teachers who know their library well. I was quickly able to find a book and bring it in. I was surprised how many of the other students seemed uniformed and unprepared for the class. On girl walked in 30 min late and was asked to share her book to the class. She brought in a Mercy Watson book, one I have read several times to the twins at bedtime. As she started to describe it to the class I knew she hadn't read it. I had to laugh because her interpretation of what was happening in the story was from the pictures and she was all wrong. I wonder if my professor knew. Anyways, this class will be more challenging. I have a 7 page research paper/observation due in a week. I know that doesn't sound like a lot but I am pretty stressed about it.

One moment from this class last week has me wiggling in me seat. I had to use the restroom before class but didn't have time between leaving work and getting to class. I figured I would have to wait as long as I could before it became an emergency and try to slip out at a good time. As class went on my need to use the ladies room increased dramatically. She showed a 15 minute video and I was dying through the whole thing but because of where I was sitting I couldn't really leave. Needless to say I didn't pay as much attention to the movie as I should have. When it was over she told the class to organize them selves into a circle, I figured that was my cue. It would take 30 adults moving chairs at least a few minutes to get into the circle. So I ran to the restroom, I was quick and efficient. I was gone no more than 90 seconds. When I got back into the room everyone was in the circle and having a discussion on the video. They were also using each others names in reference to previous comments that had been made. I was so lost. Since part of the grade is participation I got really nervous that I was going to have to say something about a movie I didn't pay attention to. Also you could tell she must have said everyone needed to say something because as soon as one person said something 3 more people tried to say what they were thinking right after. I didn't have time to collect my thoughts into a well thought out, worthy of a class discussion comment. The clock ticked, and soon it was just me and the guy with laryngitis who hadn't added to the "grande conversation" as she called it. Then the professor said "I want to open the conversation up to new voices and remind them that this is part of the grading process." Ugh... I really was going to have to say something. I took a deep breath, and let the guy who couldn't talk go first. Then I rephrased something someone else had said. Not so much a win for that class. I will now make it a point to use the restroom before leaving work and paying attention to all video clips played.

I am really grateful that I have this opportunity to take classes and pursue a higher education degree. I know that what I am learning will not only further my professional career but will benefit my future children. Reading is a life long skill and I am excited to take what I know about literacy, comprehensions, phonological awareness, semantics, syntax and pragmatics and apply that to teaching my own children how to read.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Closing a Chapter

Yesterday at church I was released of my calling in the Young Women's organization. Another bittersweet moment. I have been volunteering in YW for almost 3 years now. I have served as beehive advisor (12 & 13 year old girls), 2nd counselor, and 1st counselor over the past few year. I have also spent many hours organizing fundraisers in behalf of the girls, collecting girls camp and youth conference forms, attended stake activities as a chaperone, planned many wednesday night activities, taught several sunday lessons on living high standards, our divine role as women, being an example to those around us, dating and temple marriage, modesty in dress, thought and action and developing a relationship with our Father in Heaven. I have spent many hours on my knees praying individually for all the girls I have worked with who have faced challenges and hardships. I have hosted a handful of sleepovers with hyper, giddy teenage girls anxious to talk about boys. And I have shed many, many tears of joy as I have watched girls overcome adversity; become strengthened in their testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real and They love them; as the girls begin to stand taller and stronger for what they believe in and their countanance begins to wax strong in the light of Christ. It has been such a blessing to work so closely with some of these amazing, strong, virtuous, beautiful daughters of our Heavenly Father. I have seen young lives COMPLETELY changed through the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no greater blessing than to be a small part of that.

It truly has been a wonderful three years and I have learned selfless service better than I ever had before. I have 30+ little sisters now and I love it. But with all that being said, I am exhausted and worn down and am happy to pass the torch to the new Presidency and their advisors. When they called the new YW leaders yesterday I was so happy and excited for the girls. The women who are stepping in now are truly all SO amazing and talented and will do remarkable things for these special daughters of God. I am a little sad to be closing this chapter of my life and could barley get my goodbyes to the girls out through all of my tears yesterday. I hope that I have left at least a little bit of an imprint on them, as they have on me.

But for now I am FREE! I was not given a new calling in church on Sunday, but I can't imagine it will be that way for long. YW has always been the calling I have wanted so I think it will be hard for me to love anything quite as much but I am excited to serve elsewhere in the church. I am also excited to have my Wednesday nights free again. It has been a long time since I didn't have something planned for Wednesday night. Well I guess they are kind of free, I have my grad classes now scheduled for Wed night, but they are over by 8:10 and not 9:30-10:00pm so that is still a welcome change. They also announced some upcoming stake youth activities in church on Sunday and my first thought was "I don't have to go!" There will for sure be some perks for me as my schedule is a little more flexible now. I am also excited to go to Relief Society third hour, I haven't spent much time there in a long time.

As we all know as one chapter of church service closes another chapter is close to beginning...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

US Tennis Open

For our anniversary I got Mike tickets to the US open. Since we had so much fun at Wimbledon this year I thought we should go to another championship tournament. I got tickets for the Friday night matches at Arthur Ash Stadium. A few years ago we went to this same time slot and we saw Nadal play so I figured we would probably see someone in the top 5 play on this night again. We were both a little disappointed when found out that the match we would see would be Andy Roddick playing. Don't get me wrong, we love him but just saw him play at Wimbledon and we were both really hoping to see Federer, Djokovic or Murry just someone we had seen before.

We drove down to flushing meadows and parked at Citi Field (NY Mets stadium) and walked over to the tennis area. We weren't able to get in our seats for about 45 min from the time we arrived so we grabbed dinner at the concession stands and watch a match on the big screen outside the stadium.

We finally took our seats and watched Andy play a great match. Tennis is such a beautiful sport. The way they move their bodies to hit the ball. They are so graceful and have so much finesse. I love watching tennis. We ended up being glad that we saw him. He announced his retirement from the sport the day before we saw him play. I think knowing it was his last tournament made him play with a little more heart and he just did phenomenal. He won in straight sets against Tomic, the last one winning all the games.


An added bonus of being at the match was seeing Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman. We may have watched them about as much as we watched the match. 


We took an ice cream break then went back in to watch a little bit of the women's match. We don't follow women's tennis as much as men's so we actually weren't familiar with the two playing. However, one of them is ranked number one, and after watching her play a game or two we could see why. She was so incredible we will be keeping and eye on her, we just need to learn how to pronounce her last name.

After the first set we called it a night and went out in search of a souvenir. When we were at Wimbledon Mike got a over sized tennis ball, not the huge ones you see on TV that the players sign, one a about half that size. He keeps it at work and he wanted one from the US Open to add to his collection. We spent 30 minutes walking all around the shops looking for one, but no luck! Even after that slightly disappointing moment we still had a great night of tennis and hope to make it a tradition.

Back to School

This week I went back to school. I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. It is always hard to say goodbye to the summer, but I had such a packed summer I wanted a little more time at home to enjoy the nice weather and friends. I was however, excited to see my coworkers and get back into a routine, even an exhausting, crazy one. 

The first week of school for teachers is full of staff development meetings, organizing the classrooms, preparing for the students, lesson prep, free meals from the PTO and a few more meetings. I really enjoyed some of the staff meeting we had. I work with a lot of really well educated, knowledgeable professional and it always inspires me to continue with my education in the field. This year the school is also providing each class with five iPads. I can't wait to explore all the cool education apps and use the iPad for teaching and enrichment activities. 

I have been moved up this year. The past two years I have spent in a Pre-Kindergarten classroom, but this year I will be working in Kindergarten. It is an exciting change and I am looking forward to it. The teacher I will be working with is incredible. She has been teaching for several years and is so organized and creative in her teaching methods. I am really anxious to learn all I can from her. Our class size is really small this year, which is really nice. When you have less students you are able to spent more time with them individually covering the material. That in turn allows them to learn the material quicker so you can cover more over the course of the year. I have a few students in my class this year that were in my class last year. That will be fun since I already have a good rapport with them and enjoy them. 

I'm really happy with the way our room turned out. Now all we need are some students to fill it. They come on Tuesday and then the real fun begins. In a few months I may need to be reminded that I was really anxious for the school year to begin. However, for right now, I can't wait till Tuesday.