Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jackson is 21 months and I am late...again

At 21 months Jackson loves...

1. ...The Wiggles. Well, watching for 5 minutes, jumping around like crazy, then moving on...
2. ...jumping...all the time...while saying JUMP JUMP JUMP!
3. ...grabbing you by the finger and saying GO!
4. ...requesting a DVD switch every 2 minutes. 
5. ...guacamole. He eats it by the spoonful.
6. ...playing with a cell phone/leap pad/any shiny thing...
7. ...fake whining by saying, "shoesssssss".
8. ...wearing hats. Any hat. Loves hats!
9. ...walking (ok, running) around stores.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This is so late...Jack at 20 months!

At 20 months Jackson loves...

1. ...singing BA BA BA BA BAAADAAA!
2. ...The Wiggles.
3. ...Little Einsteins.
4. ...trying new foods. Today-- stuffed shells. He liked!
5. ...being a cuddly little boy.
6. ...doing every single thing his sister does.
7. ...reading a-book!
8. ...dancing like a little dancing fool.
9. ...pretending he is in Lily's class at school.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!

My little Gus-Gus mouse!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

So things have been busy...

This fall I have been a horrible blogger. Why? Things have been insanely busy. Sometimes I am happily busy, sometimes I am insanely overwhelmed. Sometimes it's a little bit of both. I took on coaching this fall knowing very well that it would lead to a much busier fall than normal. At this point, the word "busy" isn't adequate to describe our schedule. 

Coaching has been going well, and I don't regret taking on the extra work. The girls are a really good group of kids, and I enjoy working with them. The time commitment is a huge one, and most days I don't get home until after 5pm. If it's a game day, make it 8pm. That means there are some days that I don't get to see Jackson. It does make me a little sad, but somewhere along the way, I learned to deal with mom guilt, and, honestly, it hasn't been so bad this fall. I am so lucky that Tom happily agreed to be a quasi-stay-at-home-dad while I coach. He gets to have kid time, and take a break from the craziness of school, and I get to have some of my own time playing and coaching a sport that I really love. I haven't made any decisions on coaching next year, as I do have other things I need to pursue (most notably, finishing out my graduate credits). While I do love getting back to volleyball, I will be happy and relieved when the season is over. 

Additionally, Tom and I are well into our second year as SGA advisers. When we took over the SGA we had big dreams and visions for the program. Many of these dreams are coming true and we couldn't be happier with the results. We had 72--yes, 72-- students at our first SGA meeting. This might be the biggest number of students in school history. We have an awesome core of officers who basically run the program for us. Our president makes our job exponentially easier, for which we are grateful. We are about to kick-off spirit week, which is going to culminate in the first annual homecoming festival. The festival has been in the pipeline for about a year, so we are excited to roll out the event. It has been a true team effort and, we hope, will prove to be a huge success.

On the home front, things have been, you guessed it, busy. Lily is a full on three year old. For Lily, that means lots of "fits" (her word). She throws epic tantrums, calms down, and apologizes for throwing a fit. Her explanation- "I am SO tired", "I really miss my grandma", or "I really miss my mommy and daddy". I think the back to school transition has been hard on both kids, and, for Lily, that means tantrums. Other than those tantrums, Lily has been growing and changing and becoming a kid. A real kid. Not a toddler. Not a baby. She told my mom she wants to learn to read. She (usually) wants to read to Jackson, so she said she needs to learn to read. She loves school. She is curious and smart and inquisitive. She loves to help. She questions everything. She is joyful. I look at her and marvel that she's mine. I thought losing that baby-ness would make me sad, but watching her grow erases any feelings of baby loss that I might feel. I just love her.

Then there's Jackson. He is a 1 year old, but looks like a 3 year old. He is huge. My little boy weighs 30 pounds and is over 3 feet tall (he measured at 36.5 inches, but he might be longer...the nurse didn't have a big enough measure!). He is so happy, unless he gets "hurt" then he is so sensitive and cries. He has curly blond hair. Big brown eyes. He looks like Uncle Tim. He is talking like crazy. It amazes me the words that pop out of his mouth. He adores his sister. I think he loves Fred, but is a little scared of him...especially when he has food that Fred wants. He is just the best little boy. He makes me laugh, and brings me constant joy. He is my little guy, my little buddy (and Lily's little buddy-- she calls him her buddy, and he calls her buddy-- it is so sweet!). 

I don't know if there if there are words to describe the blessings in my life. It's surely busy, and sometimes I am overwhelmed to the point of tears, but I have such support in all of my endeavors. My parents step in with the kids when Tom and I are busy with work. My mom, "the babysitter" (sometimes, Lily calls her that...ha!), watches the kids, which has been an enormous help. Tom is truly my partner in raising our children. He hasn't only watched the kids this fall, but also made dinner. My co-workers Becky and Sarah have supported me with lesson planning. I am so grateful for their support and help at school. Our ninth grade team is really awesome, and it makes the job so much easier to have best friends working by your side. 

This fall has been crazy, but I know the crazy will begin to slow after homecoming, and then volleyball come to an end. Once that crazy ends we enter the holiday season and the crazy that comes with those things. I am looking forward to everything the rest of this year has to bring!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jack is 19 months!

Time flies when you're having fun...and somehow Jack is closer to 1 than to 2! Eep!

At 19 months Jackson loves...

1. ...talking non-stop!
2. ...spicy black bean dip.
3. ...playing outside in his cozy coupe.
4. ...sitting in adult chairs to eat meals.
5. ...imitating everything his sister does.
6. ...biting as revenge (trying to get him to stop this one...).
7. ...acting like he goes to school with Lily.
8. ...reading "a-book".
9. ...snuggling and cuddling.
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School

I haven't posted here in a while, so I decided tonight would be the night to play a bit of catch up. While we have only been in school for 3 days, things have been very busy and very crazy. This year I teach 5-- yes 5-- preps. I have English 11, AP English 11, English 9, English 9 Honors, and Freshman Seminar. So far, I think I am really going to enjoy my classes. The 9th graders seem engaged and excited to be back (or to be starting!). My 11th graders are a bit of a handful, but I think I can channel that energy into some productive class time. I think my biggest challenge with the 11th graders will be getting them into the correct learning groups and keeping them on their toes.

My AP class presents a new AP challenge-- the class is big at 32 students (my biggest class)-- and that presents a new set of problems in the AP setting. My first problem is that I am basically out of room in my classroom. I have abnormally large desks, plus high school sized humans, and that means not much room. Additionally, about half the class are students who I moved from honors. I always try to pull up students from honors into AP because I believe that every student needs to take at least one AP class in high school. A large class size makes providing support for students who need extra help  bit harder. It's definitely not impossible, and there are ways to work around it, but it is harder. Finally, because the class is only offered during one period, there were students who were slated to be in AP (they did the extensive summer reading and everything), and then were bumped from the class because it conflicted with another class they were supposed to take. If another section of the class had been offered I think more students would have been able to take the course. I know I will make the class work, but it is a bit daunting thinking of how I will need to accommodate the class size while working to support each student in the way that they need.

I would recount my opening day activities, but my friend Sarah already did this over on her blog. If you follow this link here you can read all about the ice breakers that we did in our classes. They were a huge success, and the students made some awesome class connections. I too have pictures for a classroom tour, but I haven't uploaded them yet, so that will be saved for a new post.

All-in-all, I am looking forward to this week upcoming. We have back to school night and my volleyball team plays its first game. It is going to be a busy week, so my posting may be quiet. Between school, coaching, and the kids at home my free time is minimal!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jack is 18 months!

At 18 months Jack loves...

1. ...playing ball (any ball game).
2. ...mashes potatoes.
3. ...pretending he can go to MDOW with Lily.
4. ...holding hands with mama or Lily while in the car. 
5. ...reading books.
6. ...blowing bubbles.
7. ...saying new words.
8. ...blowing raspberries.
9. ...dancing like a crazy man!
10. ...and, of course, mama and dada!

Friday, August 22, 2014

School Year 2014-2015

I have been trying to write a back-to-school post for days now. I am very excited for the year. A big part of that excitement stems from the 9th grade team. This year, I get to work with Sarah and Becky on the 9th grade team. Sarah and Becky are my best friends and working with them is natural. Nothing is forced, we have great conversations, and we work through things well. I am looking forward to seeing how the year unfolds. I have never taught ninth grade, so I am looking forward to this new adventure!

Back to the happenings this week. Our principal started her second year and rolled out a ton of new initiatives. I knew most of these changes were in the pipeline, so nothing was a total surprise. We are working on school climate, so our biggest changes involve improving school climate. SGA has been working on this by doing school beautification projects. We swapped out posters with random students for posters with our own students. We adopted the "We are..." motto (borrowed from Penn State) and printed it on the posters and on tee shirts. We already unveiled our homecoming theme- The Wizard of Oz- using the quote, "There's no place like home" as the unifying idea. Things are coming together slowly but surely.

I can't say this week hasn't been without stress. When a bunch of new initiatives are rolled out, it can be stressful. There are new things to remember, new ideas to adapt, and new rules to implement. The amount of data and documentation is unbelievable, and, honestly, is a bit intimidating. I will say, the new changes have forced me to rethink how I run my classroom and that has been refreshing. I want to cut back on the number of assignments and really focus on quality of work and grades, rather than quantity. I want students to have a really authentic experience that enables them to get their hands dirty. I want them to dig into, and play with, really rich texts. I am a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of all of this change, but I think that, ultimately, it will make me a better teacher. That is always my goal: to be a better teacher. 

So, here's to school year being a better new possibilities...and to big changes! Here we go!