So long 2013 – the year I fulfilled my dream

As I sit here, after having read the last post I posted, I reflect on the past 5 months. Has it only been 5 months? It feels like a lifetime. Trying to find the right words to express what has happened in my life in those five months is not easy, because SO much has happened. My whole life has changed really – I am a teacher. I am in it. Fully in the thick of things. Responsible for 18 young lives for seven hours a day. Almost solely responsible for their education for 180 days of their school careers. But even more, I have the power or ability to either bring them out the other end as better people and better students, or I could totally mess up and ….

Teaching is a roller-coaster ride to say the least. There are ups and there are downs. The best part of teaching — the ups (which don’t always outweigh the downs in quantity) outweigh the downs in quality. They make me remember why I chose this profession and why I put myself through all the downs. The difficult students, even they give me some great moments of joy and pride, but on some days, they send me home crying to my steering wheel.

I have made many new friends this past year, and unfortunately lost touch with many old friends too. For the most part, the past five months I have been in survival mode. Working, eating, sleeping, working, eating, sleeping, crying, working, crying, eating, sleeping… you get the point.

My marriage has had to bare the brunt of the storm. Husband and I have done things together – mostly gone to concerts. But, the stresses of work were almost too much a month ago. I am committed to making 2014 less stressful – I have spent a day or two of my winter break getting ahead in my planning, and planning to make my life easier in the classroom in terms of keeping on top of things. Not only that – but I’ve found myself again during this break. I’ve been able to relax, laugh, read, watch TV, joke with Husband…. without the grey cloud of “you could be working to making your lessons better to ensure ALL your students succeed tomorrow/Monday”.

This photo is a visual representation of what my life has been like for the past five months – I am a very organized person, I enjoy being organized. But, like I said, I was in survival mode and this is what became of my office…and how I’ve spent some of my break “putting myself back together”.

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Enough about the stresses of the past 5 months — on to some of the fun stuff…

We went to quite a few concerts recently — Panic! At the Disco, New Politics, Jimmy Eat World, Switchfoot, Justin Timberlake & Jay Z, Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls…

I don’t have many photos to share from these – because I’ve started taking just a couple photos at each show, usually during one song only – so that I can fully enjoy the show. So, some of the photos I have taken were not very good, because I just snapped them quickly before putting my phone away.

I will say — Matchbox Twenty and Switchfoot are some of the best bands I have seen. They’re up there with Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, P.O.D., and NeedtoBreathe.

Lets talk about Switchfoot for a second. They’re AMAZING – in terms of being really good musically, engaging the audience, being passionate about their music, being humble, and plus — Jon Foreman (the lead singer) is crazy!! In a good way. He walked through the crowd and climbed on a cross beam and sang a song from there — this cross beam was practically right in front of us. He does this sort of thing at almost all of his shows it would seem. We also bought Switchfoot’s movie ‘Fading West’ — which just solidified my opinion of them as people and as a band.

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The hands in the bottom right of the frame are my husband’s hands — this photo is not zoomed in at all!

One last thing — after seeing Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls – we were “smitten”. :P They’re amazing live and we had such a good time — we decided to go on their cruise. Matchbox Twenty chartered out a Carnival Cruise Ship and had the Goo Goo Dolls join them for a 3 night, 4 day cruise to Nassau, Bahamas filled with concerts. So, hubby and I decided to join them. It was AMAZING!! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I hope 2013 was kind to you, and if not, I hope you’re ready to make 2014 a better year!! I know I sure am!

I did not have time to put my watermark on all my photographs for this post — I ask that you PLEASE don’t copy or share any of the photos you see here. Thank you SO much!! :)

Too Blessed to be Stressed

It’s been almost three months to the day since I last posted an update (not counting the squirrel diner since it wasn’t really an update). I cannot believe what a terrible blogger I have been, although I’ve always understood that I’m not much of a blogger anyway. I blog purely to keep those family and friends who live far away update on my life. However, I have also made some great bloggy friends along the way — and I miss you guys!! I apologize for not being more active lately.

What has happened since I last posted? Well…. let’s see…..

  • After my long term substitute position came to an end, I was hired as a Teacher Support Assistant. Essentially, I was doing the same interventions and providing the same support. The position was one the school needed filled and I was more than happy to accept it, even though I was being paid significantly less. I love the school and the staff there!
  • In April, I also applied for a summer school teaching position, and got it!!
  • In May we went to 3 concerts in one week — Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, and Relient K. They were all awesome!!! Papa Roach was amazing — Limp Bizkit was everything I hoped it would be and more!! Relient K (with William Beckett from the Academy Is) was great too, different, but great! :) (Photos at the end of the post)
  • Also in May, we took part in Relay for Life — this was a very fun and rewarding event!! I loved being able to give my time and help fundraise for such an awesome cause!!
  • BIG NEWS!!! In June I was officially offered a teaching position at the school I have been working at since January!! I will be teaching third grade!!

There it is — the amazing blessings of 2013 so far!! I cannot begin to describe the amount of gratitude and humility I feel to have been blessed so much. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have been given these opportunities and am not taking any of it for granted.

So, I have had my “own” classroom for a week of summer school now — things have been really good!! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the students and being in control of their learning environment – this is a very important task and I take it very seriously. I’m getting to try out all my procedures and ideas for next year — which is such an advantage and will definitely cut back on the amount of stress I may feel that first week of school.

I have been building my classroom library, and am quite proud of how the amount of books I have managed to collect (through generous friends, family, teachers, organizations, and deal hunting). I have also been making stuff and collecting other things for my classroom — I look forward to sharing some photos of my classroom once it is all set up. My summer school classroom is not actually my room, it’s another teacher’s room, so I am somewhat limited in what I can do in there (although she’s been awesome and very supportive of me using her room).

There is not much other news to share – except perhaps what is happening as I am typing this — we are having our roof replaced….so there is a team of workers on top of our house ripping our old roof off. I have put on some music to help drown out the sound of our house being pulled apart. I think this is not only helping put me at ease a little, but the dogs too. They have been VERY concerned with all the noises – and I do not blame them!! I am very excited for the job to be complete – our roof has had some issues, and just knowing that our roof is 100% new and improved, is going to be great. Also, our gutters have had issues for years, so we are having those replaced too — that in itself is super exciting! :D You know you’re getting older and more “grown up” when you’re excited about new gutters!!

Things I am looking forward to:

  • This roofing job to be done! :P
  • The rest of summer school
  • Going to see Justin Timberlake & JayZ in August
  • Two days later – seeing Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty
  • My first official teaching position starting

Hope you’re having an amazing summer (winter for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere)!! ImageImageImage

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