Weekends v. Weekdays

We are in the thick of the “weekdays” right now on this Wednesday morning.  It feels like it has been raining for 100 years, but it has really been only a full day of rain.  I woke up once for Helen and once for Holden last night.   Both times it sounded just like someone had turned a faucet on over our house!  Don’t you just hate the rain?!?!  It’s kind of cozy if you can stay home when it’s going on.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we were up to yesterday.  I have about a 30 minute drive to work in typical traffic.  Yesterday’s rain extended that quite a bit.  I just hate being late to work!  I have a hard time keeping the day going in a positive way when that happens.  Which brings me to what’s on my mind…weekends v. weekdays!

This past weekend was Holden’s first soccer game.  He loved it, and we loved watching him!  It was pretty warm with temps in the mid 80s.  The team split into two small teams, so the kids could play the whole time with no subbing.

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P.S. Boys 6 and under soccer is when things start to get a little more serious and a little more competitive!

Besides soccer, we got to attend a baptism of our old friends’ baby boy.  The Mr. was the godfather.  Doesn’t he look handsome?!  Baby and Godfather!14355539_1462250590457984_1420083822664243896_n.jpg

It was a beautiful service with lots of delicious food afterwards.  We also had a visit from Holden and Helen’s Meme and C-Pa.  This delayed nap time, so Holden was quite pleased! It was such a nice (and busy!) weekend.  I confess that Monday was not my favorite, and Tuesday was really not my favorite.  I’ve been really not feeling the work scene lately, and it’s been very noticeable.  Not to mention I’ve been pretty vocal about it!  Don’t ask me how I feel unless you REALLY want to know.

I know when I have times like this the most important thing I can do is to pray more.  Well, (sadly) I feel like I tend to pray less.  This morning I finally got myself together and spent a little time reading.  I came across this verse in Hosea 7 (verse 14).

They lie there sleepless with anxiety, but won’t ask my help.  

Instead, they worship heathen gods asking them for crops and for prosperity.

So true in my case!  I have chosen to fret and worry and obsess and just WALLOW about in my despair over working outside the home (let’s be real…there’s work inside the home too!).  Right now it seems to be my portion.  Although people say you can always change your course, I don’t feel that’s anything I can do now.  I’ve got to figure out how to make this work AND somehow enjoy it aka not be super miserable everyday.  A key part that I’ve been missing is PRAYER.  I totally have been skipping this in my life right now for worry, crying, whining, anger, and just general despair.

 So…I’m going to try to do better.  Does this seem like it’s the theme of your days?  I feel like it happens to be mine.  I am thankful for new days and fresh starts.  Even if today I may float away on the way to work.  It’s STILL raining!

Have a great hump day.

Natalie

 

What’s Up?!?!? (Wednesday)

Can you believe that we are at the half-way point for October?!?!  Wow, this month is flying by!  I’ve had lots of changes in my work life in the past week, so I’m kind of thrilled they are behind me.  My school lost one special education teacher due to “numbers” not being high enough to keep the position.  There is a system in which school officials calculate the “need” of each student based on daily minutes provided.  All the teachers that I know go above and beyond those minutes, and I know that I certainly help all students who are struggling…not just those with official “minutes.”  You may guess that no one asked a teacher’s opinion at my school.  They have their budget and reality of how they have to do things, BUT it certainly made for a stressful mess for my school and teachers.

The short version is that I will not be working with my kindergarten students (They were so sweet about me leaving!  They made a card, and we had donuts on my last day!).  I will be working with both third grade and fourth grade this year.  English all day.  Yippee.  I really don’t mind teaching English, but it is nice to have some variety in life.  Two SOL TESTING grades is also a challenge.  In conclusion, it sort-of feels like the first day of school again for half the day.  I so don’t like the first day of school!  Getting to know the kids, revamping/doing lesson plans, and just adjusting to working with a new teacher can make one stressed!  In fact, I was so stressed this past weekend (although I don’t think I admitted how bad it was getting on my nerves!) that I broke out with a nice case of hives for my Saturday night fun!  Not to worry!  Those lovelies have faded, and hopefully things will start smoothing out at school as well.

We did get out of town this weekend to visit H’s Granny and for the Mr. to do his first fall hunting.  He’s slightly excited about hunting season.  🙂  (<-that may be the largest understatement of the year).  Although it sprinkled a bit on Saturday, Granny, H, and I did get a little outdoor play in plus a trip to the farmers’ market.  Granny treated H to TWO light sabers (one for his opponent who is typically Daddy).

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I got to take two nice walks with Roscoe the doggie while we were there.  Aren’t these flowers growing in a soybean field pretty!

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Sunday was a baby shower for an old friend.  The food was delicious, and I was so glad that I could make it there.  It’s funny how you can go from seeing someone so much to seeing them hardly at all.  As life has gotten busier for both of us plus a couple moves for her, it was nice just to catch up and do baby/kid talk for a little bit.  After the shower, it was back to reality for us!  Groceries, laundry, and prepping for my first day as a third and fourth grade teacher!  Another mountain to climb this week was to figure out why I’m sneezing and itching my face off!  I’ve never been one to have allergies, but I have been getting super sneezy and just miserable every night.  This has resulted in a lot of lack of sleep!  Not good!  Well, this week we went on the attack.  The Mr. had our home inspected for mold.  None present!  Yay!  We thoroughly cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom including under the bed and closet.  We even washed curtains and every single bit of our bedding.  After continued sneezing, we decided to throw money at the situation.  On Monday, I was feeling way tired from the lack of sleep, so I left work ASAP to buy an air purifier.  I know…it kind of seems like a hoax.  I can happily report that I’ve been sleeping much better since purchasing it!

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I’ve also been using my Neti pot every night!  It’s basically a pretty snotty, gross event.  Whatever it takes to sleep through the night!  I’ve been feeling like a fussy infant or the princess and the pea!  Here’s a link if you want to buy…  I’ve always heard great recommendations about these things.  Seem to gross to try?  Here’s an article from WebMD about the benefits and who should give it a whirl.  Another recommendation is to wash your hair every night.  I know this stinks especially if you’re more stylish than me and like to do your hair in the morning.  I’m not at all hair-motivated in the morning.  My hair is fine, so I can easily curl, straighten, or put up my washed-last-night-hair.

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So I’m happy to report I made it from 10PM to 4:40AM last night!  Victory!  Unfortunately, my nose got a little stuffy around that time.  This is a HUGE improvement!  I’ll keep doing what I’m doing!

Any allergies tips that have worked for you?

It’s beginning to feel like fall around these parts.  Do you have any favorite fall traditions or a fall bucket list?

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Checking in…

Well, it has only been almost three weeks since I’ve showed up on here!  I’ve been focusing on “showing up” and attempting to get the school year started for all of us.  Whew!  It is definitely a slightly painful period each year!  I *almost* feel like a routine is coming together both at school and home.  It sure is a lot of work required to get to this point.  I always say things will get better…by Halloween!  🙂

I hope your September has been a little less busy than mine.  We have managed to have some fun too!  I’ve continued my weekly yoga class {pretty sure this is only because I’m paying per visit and I started with 10!}.  We visited family over the Labor Day weekend.  Crabbing, eating, and celebrating were the main goals that weekend, and I would say we achieved them.  My little brother also had a birthday as well as my mom.  We were so glad to get to celebrate a bit, but I’m very much looking forward to celebrating with my mom at the end of the month.

Although I enjoy meeting the new kids, it is hard to remember from June to September how much effort is required to get that structure and routine in place that will guide us through the school year.  My school division adopted a new reading series this year.  There is definitely a learning curve as we are also using a new student record online program as well.  Good grief!  I already forgot the password to one program and got myself {temporarily} locked out!

Here’s a few back-to-school funnies for you!

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Ha!  All images from Pinterest.

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5 for Friday

Well, I’ve certainly been MIA this week!  The end of the school year is its own breed of crazy, and {true to form} this next-to-last week has been a doozy.  There is no rhyme or reason to what I’m about to share.  Just laying it out there for ya!  5 “things” on my mind this week…

{ONE}

Job Shifts – There may be a bit of shuffle at my school of the teachers, and I’m one up for a potential change.  Wow, this is always hard for me.  It’s really the up-in-the-air-ness nature of that gets to me.  I start planning in my head how next school year will look, but guess what?  It changes.  Yikes.  As a planner and a concrete thinker, I struggle to just let go and “not worry about it.”  I’m getting lots of practice at this right now.  My number one kinds of leads into number two…

{TWO}

Running – Oh my dear friend.  I always come back to running when I’m worried/stressed/overwrought/______  fill in any emotional crisis.  This past Wednesday was also National Running Day.  Although I didn’t get to run on the actual day, I did enjoy a 4 mile-ish run plus a 1 mile jog with Roscadoo on Tuesday.  I was all excited about head out at about 5 this morning only to be greeted by a nice, steady downpour.  No run for me.  I wasn’t feeling the treadmill option, so I did a little elliptical work and watched really bad music videos on MTV.  I forgot all about MTV’s music videos!  IMG_1809 IMG_1804 IMG_1806 IMG_1807 IMG_1808

Quite a lovely look, huh?!?!

{THREE}

Organization – I’ve been getting excited {very dorky, I know} about some organization projects that I plan to work on this summer.  I really have a few areas of the house that are tucked away from the main thoroughfare that could use some decluttering and organization.  One problem area is Holden’s toy storage.  I order a shelf system for him from Target this past weekend that I ended up paying eleven dollars for.  I had twenty dollars in gift cards from Teacher Appreciation Week, and I used a special promo code they had for organizational system {I think a code to get those college freshman buying stuff!}.  I got free shipping due to my Red Card.

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Buy here

We got this except it was a dark cherry.  We also laid it down the long way for better access for H.  I plan on picking up three fabric cubes for storing his do-dads.

{FOUR}

I needed a laugh tonight and looked up an old favorite – Ron Burgundy!  Did you see Anchorman back in 2004?  I remember nearly peeing my pants at the theater, but I was literally the only one busting a gut laughing at it!  Check out this funny clip from it.  Have you seen the sequel?  Watching these clips made me want to see it.  I looked it up, and our local library has it.  Even if it’s a little cheesy, sometimes a cheesy laugh is exactly what you need.  🙂

{FIVE}

Once summer gets here, I tend to spend even less time dealing with my hair.  My curly-by-nature hair comes out big time!  I’m just about out of my Herbal Instincts mouse that I typically use to “scrunch” my hair, so I’m on the look-out for a new, inexpensive product to help define my curls without making it look greasy or weighed down.  But…I want something “natural” as well that doesn’t seem like a ton of bad chemicals are going into my hair.  Oh the dilemmas of being female!  I found this site that gave me some ideas.  I’d really like to make a trip out to pick up some product at Whole Foods that will do the trick.  Nobody got time for a hair dryer!  Summer is hot enough already!

Well, there you go!  The randoms on my mind this Friday eve!

Zipped, Zapped, I’m going to go SPLAT!

What a week!  I’m so happy it’s Hump Day!  This week has been a challenging one for me at work.  Back in 2006, I was trying to decide my career path after graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  I tried a very brief job in insurance and decided it wasn’t for me.  I was drawn to the teaching profession and specifically to the world of special education.  I knew I wanted to be active (i.e. not sitting at a desk), have some degree of autonomy, and provide some type of service (you know, make the world a better place!).  I completed my course work for my Master’s of Science in Education, Special Education in 2009, but I was hired provisionally in 2007 under a one-time license that the state of Virginia put into place to deal with special education teacher shortages.  I’m happily fully certified to provide learning disability services in grades K-12.

With all that being said, sometimes I doubt my decision, my path.  Oh.my.goodness.  This week is one of those weeks.  Although my “hours” are from 7:25-2:35 formally, I often find myself doing Internet searches for new ways of teaching this or that, having parent/teacher conferences or IEP meetings, discussing instruction/curriculum with other teachers, participating in training/inservices at the district and school level, or checking/grading/planning/just generally worrying about my students.  Our dinner conversations at home frequently include me rehashing a particular skill that I’m struggling to teach or an issue that I’m worried about as it relates to my students.  I’m no saint.  I wouldn’t even say I’m the most patient person I know.  In fact, I didn’t even think I liked kids until after I had started teaching.  Whoops.  Fortunately, I do like them.  🙂  I like teaching.  Heck, I even like lesson planning.  I’m not even too irritable about the paperwork.

Here’s an interesting job description for special education teachers that I found on this website:

Job Description for Special Education Teacher, Preschool, Kindergarten, or Elementary School

A person applying for a position as a special education teacher for preschool, kindergarten or elementary grades will be expected to go above and beyond the responsibilities of teachers who work with children who don’t have special needs or learning disabilities. Special education teachers work with children who can have any combination of emotional, physical or mental challenges that require a higher level of training than teachers who work with children who don’t have these struggles. Because of the challenges involved with teaching these students, a higher level of communication skills, compassion and patience is expected of both the teachers and the parents of special needs children. A special education teacher will be required to provide more individualized attention to students due to the variety of circumstances that are unique to each child in a special education classroom.

Working as a teacher with younger children who have special needs is an important responsibility. As with all children, the development of learning in the earlier stages of a child’s education will play a large role in shaping the child’s life as a teen and as an adult. Being able to assess the needs and create achievable and positive goals for each individual child requires a high degree of awareness and understanding. A special education teacher will have to adapt to situations quickly and defuse conflicts and trauma on a frequent basis. It’s also more than likely that sensitivity to emotions will be necessary for this job.

Sometimes, this job just wipes me out.  Today is one of those days.  I’m completely zapped of “get-up-and-go!”  I hate it too.  I hate feeling like I want to just be an amoeba.  Truthfully, it’s beautiful here this afternoon, and I can’t drag my tail back out  of the house to enjoy a few bits of time outside.  If you know a teacher or even a special education teacher, be a little extra nice to them.  I know every job has its challenges, but no one (except a heart doctor) deals with other people’s hearts.  I am blessed to work with the hearts and souls of many people, their children, every single day.  It can take every bit of what I learned in school and every bit of my heart/brain/feet and then ask for it again tomorrow.  A kind word goes along way.  Unfortunately, a yucky word does too.

Here’s a few funnies for a lighter note…

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I don’t mean to seem ungrateful here.  Just a some “food for thought!”  If you’re a teacher, hang in there!  Only about 9ish weeks to go until summer break/rejuvenation period!  Spring break in a week and two days (but whose counting!??!?) for me!

#keepcalmandkeepteaching

Natalie

Sunday Fun Day

Hi there!  What a great weekend it has been/continues to be!  We had such a good time yesterday, and today has been fun too. If you recall, we’ve had a few illness-filled weekends.  This one feels like an actual reprieve from the work week instead of a different type of “work.”  The Mr. and I watched The Best of Me last night on DVD.  It’s a Nicholas Sparks novel, so you can just imagine the plot of this one.  Very good sentiment and heart-touching.  However, I think the Mr. is lobbying for a break from the “touchy feely” movie that I’ve been picking lately!  We rose and shone early this morning to attend the 8AM service at church.  H was a pretty good little dude and captured a few of the older ladies’ hearts.  😉  After church, we got to go on a walk together and do some yard work.  The Mr. purchased and planted two dogwoods and a redbud.  He’s way into it.  Me…not so much!  I did help a little with cleaning up some dead vines and just plain junky plant material in our yard.  Holden had a blast finding two new “homes” for worms that popped up and just generally getting into mischief with pliers, rakes, and fertilizer.  I think we pretty much blew his mind when we told him that the fertilizer was essentially “poop!”  Then, Roscoe ate it, and well…there you go!  Lots of opportunity for questions/conversations!  Here are a few pictures from my Teacher of the Year reception (including the wristlet corsage that I wore!  I felt very prom-ish!).

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Truthfully, I get really uncomfortable at “things” like this.  This is my nervous/frightening face.

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#bathroomselfie

Another interesting pic from the weekend – the Mr.’s hunting gear laundry day!

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He certainly likes his gear/accessories!  If he was a girl, I swear he would have a million shoes and bags!

I hope you’re having a terrific weekend!  It’s amazing how simply being well and having some sunshine can be so appreciated in the spring after the winter season!

A thought for all the moms out there who are struggling with decisions, big and small!

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Image Courtesy of Traci Michele – Found at Pinterest.com

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Image from Pinterest

Natalie

Friday Eve Randoms

Wow!  This week seems short to me!  I can’t believe it is already Friday AND that a full week of November is almost over!  Tomorrow is my sister’s 25th birthday.  Hard to believe!  Although I won’t be celebrating with her tomorrow (she really should move closer to me!  Selfish perhaps but true!), I’m looking forward to next weekend’s festivities including a birthday dinner for her.  An excellent excuse to cook up something chocolately.  She is a serious {perhaps even more than me} chocolate lover.

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The top picture was in 2010, and the bottom picture was in 2009.  Wow!  Time flies.  Happiest of birthdays to you, Dee!  I (+Jake+Holden+Roscoe) love you!  Here are some dessert ideas for Dee’s dinner…

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Glaze

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Salted Caramel Brownies

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Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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Indoor S’Mores

So much deliciousness!

As a sidenote, I found this stellar picture when looking through my old albums on Facebook…

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Daddy was enjoying my bee costume that made a reappearance this Halloween.  A timeless accessory.

In other recent developments, I’ve been cruising through the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury.  I’ve finished the first two books and am anxiously awaiting my third book to come into the library.  I also read another of her book this October.  Look at me!  Three books in a month!

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I was thrilled to get a half-caff coffee from Starbucks this week and jump on the red holiday cup bandwagon.

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I’m so excited to be in the holiday season.  Can you believe it is here already!?!?  I’ve got all but one of my family’s Secret Santa forms.  We do this every year, and I’ve blogged about it here.  This year, we’ve bumped the limit down from $150 to $100.  I’m all about the savings.  It seems like miscellaneous expenses sneak up so much these days.  Hello car-going-to-the-mechanic next Tuesday!

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Holden had a bit of homework this week from daycare.  Speaking of the holiday spirit, he will be contributing to the turkey at daycare with his own decorated feather.  Markers, stickers, and random purple painter’s tape were his choices.  We added the pictures which he “trimmed” with the decorative scissors with LOTS of supervision.  Lest you think everything was fabulous, there was this lovely dinnertime meltdown this week.

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I’m pretty sure this picture captured him trying to bite his arm to demonstrate his absolute annoyance with me and my “dinner rules” in general.  Lovely.

And for my last act of randomness tonight, I thought I’d share my sweet new parking space.

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Look at me!  On the front row!  I also noticed these pretty flowers out by the front door to school.  Totally missed these as usually am coming out another way.

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Slightly blurry but you get the idea.

I hope you have a great Friday!  Only a few work hours standing between me and the weekend.  🙂

Natalie