Monday, June 29, 2015

The Summer of Adventure

    Many summers I take time to take some classes for professional development, do some organization in my classroom, develop lessons and then I try to have some downtime. This year I have reorganized my priorities. Although I will still work (I actually enjoy working and having some time where other things are not due or not dealing with a few hundred children a day is really conducive to get things accomplished), I plan to take up some opportunities and to have an adventurous summer. This does not mean that we have to be busy everyday or to do giant events, but I will attempt to do something fun every day. We are planning a cross-country road trip in August. We are not going all the way to CA, but we've never taken a trip this large. I will keep you updated on the blog every week.
      So, the kids just got out of school today, which is late for MA. It was freezing this morning.


        Although today is the official start to our summer, I would say that we kicked summer off with a trip to Plymouth, MA. See the red, plaid blur up there by the lights? That's one of my old students. He is a fantastic musician and I was so excited to go hear him play. It was really nice for me to introduce him to my own children and to have them meet him. If I had to pick a favorite student of all time, Chris is up there. I have been so proud to watch him grow up into who he has become. On top of being talented, he's a super nice guy. So, check out his music!
   

(This picture is Chris'. He was using a much better camera :) )

  Sunday-
     We started off the day at church. Our pastor is preaching about The Prodigal God, which is a series based on the prodigal son. We also got to meet a new baby in the church this week. Super cute.
      After church the boys had a playdate with one of Tim's best friends. I wish I got a picture of Tim, David and Katie. David and I hung out and played a while then we left Tim for a few more hours. The family also took Timmy out to dinner with them, which was really nice.

Monday-
      Last day of school. After school we chatted with a few families to hear which teacher everybody has next year. (Our district puts next year's teacher on their report card. I love this since it gives the kids a chance to meet up with kids who will be in their class next year.) Both boys have some good friends in their class and they both got the teachers we had hoped for. Honestly, the boys will do well with any teacher if they work hard, but they were excited to be assigned to people they had thought about before.
     After school,we came home for a yummy lunch and some housework. A few hours later,  the boys went to a birthday party. The mom decided to try a homemade laser tag game with squirt guns filled with Kool-Aid. Everyone had a blast. She had given the boys a bunch of boxes and duct tape for them to build barricades, then the fun began. They also brought out a slip'n'slide. It was nice to see both boys really comfortable with their friends. David decided not to really join the water fight, but I think he knows himself well enough to know that he would've gotten overwhelmed. He wanted to get wet but he didn't want to be in the middle of all of the older kids.
      After the party, we came home for dinner. (Chicken stuffed with spinach and colby-jack cheese) Matt's ice cream shop has a promotion where the kids can get a free junior sundae by showing their good report cards. Of course the boys really were excited for that so we visited dad at work and the boys got sundaes. Now they're watching a movie before bed. Tomorrow will be another fun, exciting day!


While I'm updating, here was today's incoming mail:
 Postcrossing card from the Czech Republic
 Mail fatality. Beautiful envelope and stamp from China.
 I thought this was ironic given the condition of the envelope.
Inside the envelope I found these cute little lollipops. I'm waiting to hear the allergy info before I let the kids try them. Anyone from China reading?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Postcards/366 update

    It has been a while since I've updated on my mail- mostly because I've been horrible about it. Now that it's summer vacation for me, I will be a lot better about it. So, here's today's mail as well as an updated on the 366 Project.

Outgoing- Postcrossing cards to the Czech Republic and The Netherlands

 Incoming: This card is from Tatiana in Russia but it is a card of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. It is a UNESCO site.

The 366 Project:

Sent: 191
Received: 82

  Honestly, I was a little that I would be really behind my "sent" goal since I wasn't writing a lot when my schedule was insane.Today is day 178 of the year, so I'm still on track (ahead a little even!). I'm sadly behind on the incoming mail. I will be happy this year if I can keep the challenge of sending out some postal kindness since I have full control over that. With that being said, feel free to send me some good stuff through the mail too if you haven't. (If you're waiting for a letter from me, wait until I respond. I'm attacking my pile starting today and plan to write at least 1 a day so it should be soon.)



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Currently 6/16/15

Watching:
   I may or may not be watching some television that kind of makes my brain turn to mush. You know how sometimes you just need to sit and not think? Yeah, well that's been me in front of the TV lately. I will admit to watching The Whispers, which I don't know if I "like" but I was drawn to the interesting score.  (If you're not a musician, the score is the music composed for the movie, show, etc.) Being a music teacher I just can't shut this off and not notice. The composer's name is Conrad Pope. I have never heard of him before but I may just look up some of the movies he's previously orchestrated because I like his stuff from what I've heard.


Reading:
Selected Letters of Norman Mailer
    Thanks again, GoodReads! People fascinate me and letters, I believe, are one of the coolest ways to learn who people really are. I didn't know much about Norman Mailer before (and I'm only in the 1940s) but MAN... he's a prolific letter writer.  If you thought I wrote a lot of letters, he wrote more than 45,000 letters in his lifetime. Woah. Right now I'm reading about his experience in the service. I'm enjoying the book very much so far and the notes explaining who the letters were to, different references, etc. are very helpful.

Listening:
   At the moment- Pandora on shuffle. Pompeii by Bastille is on. I've also been listening to some covers done by one of my former students who just graduated from high school. Another previous student has an EP release party on Thursday so I anticipate listening to a lot of his stuff too.

Making:
   I'm making progress in cleaning/organizing the music room at school. I have dedicated the last 20 minutes of school every day to trying to organize the sheet music in my room. It is everywhere- file cabinets, drawers, choral music boxes, EVERYWHERE. I have tried to do this project for years. I always start pulling things out to sort them and by the time I get everything out, my prep is over or it's time to put them away.
     A week ago a few students offered to help. I have had between 5-25 kids every day who have just "come to help out."  They have NO idea how much they are blessing me. One of them told me that I was "the most organized person she's ever met."  I laughed since we were surrounded by literally hundreds of pieces. I didn't feel organized but she was impressed that I knew where everything was, where it should go and how to make that happen. I took it as a small victory and was encouraged by her sweet comment.  Only 2 more years of working this hard every day and I might make a dent. :)

Feeling:
   Been a week of ups and downs.
Downs- I lost one of my ChemoBuddies this week. I hadn't heard from her in a while. I texted her a few times and got a thumbs up emoji but no words. My guess is that she didn't want to feel like a burden but I wish I had known she wasn't doing well so I could've been more of an encouragement to her.
   Lots of friends are going through some things- medical diagnosis, emergency surgery, stress over moving, difficulties adjusting to major life changes, etc. Although things are pretty good with me, it's okay to hurt with people you love.
    Speaking of hurt- I have plantar fasciitis in both feet. It is horrible. I have pretty high pain tolerance and this hurts... a lot. I have wrapped it with Kinesio Tape (thanks Jerry), stretched, iced, rested, etc. PT starts next week. Hopefully it feels better soon.
    Frustrated that I have not been able to do my ICAD cards yet.

Ups:
- Faithfulness of God in many of the situations above. I'm blessed to have hope in all these situations that can seem so huge on your own.
- Student help
- Super excited about huge vacation plans. I'll update on that another day.
- Timmy made the All-Star team for baseball. I don't care if he's a good athlete or a bad athlete. He is a great kid who works hard and it's nice to see him included.
- 8 more days of school
- Diagnosis for my feet- another dr had told me it was something much worse.
- My students have not shut off their brains yet. 98% of them are still working hard and doing quality work- WHAT!? Thank you!
- New babies for a few of my friends. Adorable little guys!
- Cold, rainy days during the times that are usually brutally hot in my classroom.

Planning:
    Vacation.

Loving:
   Spending time with my boys. I can't wait to be with them this summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

ICAD2- Me, Tim, David

ICAD#2- Carnival
Can you tell which one is mine? Probably not.. lol. Mine was the top. Tim, middle. David went with the chevron theme. I love that they wanted to come create with me. It is really interesting to me to see what is in their heads.



Monday, June 1, 2015

ICAD 2015


    It's that time again! I'm taking part in Daisy Yellow's Index-Card-a-Day challenge. The basic just is to create something on a 3x5 card following a prompt (if you'd like.) It was a great way to foster my creativity and develop some art skills. I totally missed that the first week should be done with ink, pens and markers so mine is done using my gelli plate and acrylics. I had fun. I might go doodle again in a minute and make another card. So, here's ICAD 1/61 You can't see the colors well here but it was basically red, yellow and blue. Where the paint overlapped, the colors blended.

    In terms of mail, I've gotten quite a few fun things this past week.
Postcrossing card from Germany. This was the first card she has sent.
 From England. Another mailbox card. I love them!
 GoodReads win. Looks like a fun read
 Postcrossing from China
 2 letters- One from Chandini in South Africa and the other from Monique in The Netherlands.
A cool little art piece from Gretchen! 

    Are any other friends participating in ICAD2015?