Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be

Resolution time! FYI- this might be a little cheesy and cliche. 

I think this quote really sums up something that I would like to work on. 

Be in the moment. Sometimes planning and over analyzing and wuestioning doesn’t get me to where I want to go. It only stresses me out more. It’s hard for me.  I like to think ahead.  I like to make plans.  Sometimes those plans don’t work out. Sometimes people get in the way of making plans. And then I’ve gone and missed out on the little moments because I was so focused on where I was going. So I’m compromising. I’ll reflect and look forward to things that I’d like to accomplish but instead of trying to anticipate when it will happen, I’ll enjoy and focus on the time that I have to get there. I’d like to think it’s working out for me so far. 

Enjoy the little things. It’s so easy for me to get distracted by all the things going on at school and in life. Field trip paperwork. Student assessments. Early childhood coaching training. Tutoring. ECERS observations. Disney musical rehearsals. It’s so much! And they’re all priority number one. It’s so easy to miss the little moments with people. The hugs from kids in the morning. The jokes between my prek team members. Lunch with my lunch buddies. Seeing kiddos from previous years. (Just today I received a bracelet from a previous student. Why? Because I say hi to him on the sidewalk after school. It made me feel so special and appreciated.) I’m so lucky with the two classes I have this year. It’s just a bunch of sweethearts. And tutoring! I get to spend time after school with some of my previous students.  I am still absolutely in love with them. When I’m not at school, I get to spend my time with people who I’m just so comfortable with. I need to enjoy these little moments everyday. It will probably help with the shark music I hear when I’m stressed. 

I’d say those are good enough for now! 

2016 in Review

2016 ended with a bang! A few bangs, actually.

The holiday season started with a fun and chilly visit to the winter wonderland that is St.Germain, I was traveling back and forth from Vegas and the Midwest for weddings. There may have been numerous delays and missed connections, but it was all made a little easier when I remembered why I was doing it and with an unexpected, much appreciated adult beverage during flight thanks to a special friend. 

I felt so special being included in Amy’s special day. Not only was I lucky enough to be a part of her party, but we were also joined by our Taiwan family. It just reminds me of the amazing connections we made while teaching abroad in Taiwan.

After a beautiful wedding in Vegas, I had to take a flight back to Minneapolis for my step-sister’s wedding in Trego, WI.  I couldn’t have imagined a more magical New Year’s Eve wedding. I don’t have the words to express how amazing it was to be able to share in this moment with my family.

Besides the busy holiday season, I have some very fond moments from this last year. 

  • Finished an amazing year with a hard working prek team by my side 
  • Added a furry friend to the prek family and kept him alive!! (I’m so proud of this)
  • Directed the Disney musical: The Jungle Book which performed at the Las Vegas Smith Center! 
  • Traveled to Disneyland, Panama, and Costa Rica
  • Visited friends and family in beautiful Wisconsin
  • Picked berries in Bayfield,WI (my favorite summer activity)
  • Began a challenging and enlightening year with a slightly different prek team
  • Continued living in the best apartment with the bestest roomie
  • Began and added to my camping gear collection (sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pudgie pie makers, marshmallow pokers, tent, water jug, cooler)

Wow! I feel so thankful for the things I was able to accomplish and experience this year. 

2017 is shaping up to be a pretty great year. It’s already introduced some amazing moments, new special friends, and fun experiences. 

2016-2017 prek team
New Year’s Eve wedding with the family
Taiwan family reunion!

New furry friend – Gus the guinea pig

For the love of marshmallows

I have to admit, Arizona has some beautiful scenery.  It’s not all brown desert!

We slept in a tent, because that’s real camping.  I bought my own sleeping bag and everything!  We are so lucky to have my uncle in town and he’s been lending us his camping gear to use.  But we’ve slowly been collecting our own camping gear, so we don’t have to rely on him as much.  So far, we’ve gotten a tent, camping chairs, sleeping bags, a lantern, a small stove, and flashlights!  Plus plenty of bug spray.

Activities:

  • Tuesday: Tonto National Park, Natural Land Bridge – 1/2 mile hike that supposedly takes an hour to complete.  Turns out, it’s just because there’s a lot of climbing down into the canyon and then back up.  I enjoyed the climbing because I was a goat in a past life.
  • Wednesday:  Canyon Lake – 5 mile hike around a beautiful lake (almost as pretty as northwoods lakes) We were on the look out for bears, but all we saw were some elk.

Menu:

  • Monday: dinner- hot dogs AND MARSHMALLOWS
  • Tuesday: breakfast- burritos, lunch- sandwiches, dinner- shishkabobs AND MARSHMALLOWS
  • Wednesday: breakfast- pancakes, lunch- sandwiches, dinner- pizza AND MARSHMALLOWS
  • Thursday: breakfast-burritos and break down the campsite

After all the hiking, we hung out at the campsite.  Got some steps in by walking around the campground and watching the stars.  There was supposed to be a meteor shower, but the night it was at its peak was also the night we had thunderstorms, pouring rain and all.

I always wonder how to fill time after all the hiking and cooking is done.  We seemed to fill in our time pretty effortlessly.  We brought some games, we brought some drinks, we brought some popcorn.  Roasting marshmallows always entertains me.  There’s something calming about roasting the perfect marshmallow.  I feel very accomplished.  We even made an entertainment center in our tent by hanging a phone using mesh from the top of the tent.  We watched catfish and Finding Nemo!

This camping trip had everything I could’ve wanted in a camping trip!  The only thing I would hope for next time: running water.  5 days of no showering… Not great.  Luckily, the smell of campfire is very overpowering.  My hair and clothes still smell like campfire even after washing them.

 

New Friends, Old Friends

Moving to a new place means meeting new people.  Luckily, teaching is a social job and I’ve had the opportunity to meet other great people to spend my time with.  There’s nothing better than sitting in a staff meeting and looking around the room to see a bunch of friendly faces that all want the same thing as you do – for the meeting to end.  And some of these work friendships have even extended to outside of the school!  Just this summer, I went to Costa Rica with new friends and old friends.  We spent a week driving around in our rented car exploring volcanos, rainforests, and beaches.  We saw a sloth!  Well, it was night time and up in a tree.  It could’ve been a tree branch.

I joined a soccer team.  It’s one of my favorite things.  It’s hard to pull myself off my couch on a Sunday evening, but totally worth it.  After a 30 minute drive to the other side of the city, I’m greeted by a rag tag group of people who somehow pull it together enough to be the #1 team in the league.  No big deal.

Moving to a new place also means putting a strain on relationships that I already have.  Long distance takes its toll.  It means facebook stalking, long phone calls for catching up, and expensive flights.  I’ve been lucky that my closest people have stayed my closest people.  We might see each other less, but we cherish the time that we do get to spend together.

 

The Wild, Wild West

Being out in the southwest, I’ve taken the opportunity to explore the desert.  It’s something very different than what I’m used to coming from Wisconsin.  I can sum it up in one word: HOT.  A great side effect of the heat is that I am drinking more water.  I’m not usually a water drinker.  The west is also a bit brown.  Very earthy colors.  I don’t mind, but I do miss the green of the trees, especially in the fall.  Fall is my favorite season, mostly because of the leaves – their smell, their colors, the way they crunch under my feet – I miss that living in the west.  A plus for the west?  The mountains are marvelous.

 

Long time, No see

How time flies!

It’s crazy to think how fast the past two years have gone.  And I haven’t had a spare moment to blog!  Man, where are my priorities?!

Every year, I fall more in love with early childhood.  I has quickly become a huge part of my identity.  I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.  There’s something special about working with youngsters and making sure that they have a positive first experience in school.

You know me.  Kids might be my life during the school day, but I still get to have many adventures in my free time!  I’d love to catch you up on my adventures.  Keep reading to find out more!

 

Setting up the Learning Environment

The last few weeks have been a blur.  Between trainings and staff bonding and setting up the classroom… we’ve barely had any time to think!

It’s been a blast getting to know the other staff members at my school.  Everyone has their own unique story and teaching style.  My principal is amazing as well as the aide in my classroom.  I know I’ll be working closely with them throughout the year, so it’s great that they are so helpful and have a calming presence.  

It’s been hectic figuring out all the different components of my Title I Pre-K job.  It’s more than planning for curriculum or putting desks together in the room.  There are so many different factors that I need to include into my classroom environment and many different developmentally appropriate practices that I have to consider when designing my lessons.  And I’m not given a class list and told, “Here’s your class.”  Nope.  I get a waiting list and have to collect all of the required documents and then test each student.  After seeing whether or not they qualified for the program, I had to call all the families back and let them know the requirements of the program as well as set up a parent meeting to go over everything they’ll need to know for the next year.  Luckily, I have an amazing aide and she’s been doing this for two years now, so she was able to help throughout the last couple weeks and give advice of things that worked or didn’t.  So while all the other grades have finished their first week of school, I’ve put together my class rosters, gathered all the documents, and held my family orientation.  And I can’t wait to meet all 40 of my new kids on Wednesday!  (Might take me a while to learn all the names, but gosh are they cute!)

Here’s to a fantastic year!  Let’s hope we survive!