I can’t quite believe another year has passed...time goes so quickly when you’re having fun! My commitment (not resolution, purposefully. More on this later.) is to try to live in the moment and not get ahead of myself with too many plans or organization.
As 2017 comes to a close, reflecting over all that has happened, we have a lot to be thankful for this year!
For NYE, we kept it low key. We tried a “new to us” restaurant for the “new” year. It was delicious! Chinese ramen instead of Japanese ramen, which is really beef noodle soup; so it was comfort food for me! Plus! They had amazing soup dumplings! So glad to find a soup dumpling place close to home.
Then, we drove around to catch Pokémon and refill our items. This is an activity we really enjoy doing together! Even if the Pokémon Go craze is over. 😜
Once home, we relaxed and watched tv in pjs until midnight. To be honest, we barely made it to midnight! I was already ready for bed - face washed, teeth brushed - so that as soon as we watched the ball drop, we could get in bed!
2017 has been a good year, with ups and downs, but we’re ready and excited for what 2018 will bring!
It has been an amazing winter break with lots of sleeping late, binge watching favorite shows, and hanging out with family. Brian had vacation time to use, so he’s had a winter break, too! It’s been so nice just to relax and not have a schedule.
We decided to make a day trip up to Cherokee, NC to Harrah’s Casino and Resort. Brian went for work, and I got to tag along. It was really cool to see Brian’s work world and how the music and sound effects really make the experience!
It was my first casino experience, and besides getting hopelessly lost and turned around, I had a lot of fun!
I have been teaching at my school for 10 years now! Can you believe that? It has gone quickly, and before I know it, I will have been teaching for another decade. It has not always been easy; there are definite ups and downs in teaching. But I know I am in the right place; I am an educator and always will be in some form or fashion.
Each year I have taught an Art Club for my oldest students. We meet before school, and it has been a great way for me to start my day! These students are motivated and excited to create, and because it's smaller than a class, more intimate but also more independent. We have a tradition of having an Art Club t-shirt, designed by a club member.
To celebrate my first decade of teaching, I asked my quilter mother-in-law to help me create a t-shirt quilt. She does not like t-shirt quilts, but agreed to help me. I called it a "daughter-in-law perk"!
Throughout the summer, I would drive an hour to her house for the day -- flexible scheduling, another perk! We could set our own schedule because I was on summer break and she is a small business owner who works from home. I saw my in-laws more than my husband, but I really enjoyed the time with them! It was really cool to see them both in their own creative elements. My mother-in-law quilts, and my father-in-law crafts leather. I enjoyed just observing their process, asking questions, and learning.
Here's our t-shirt quilt process in visuals :-)
Laying out the t-shirts & formulating a plan
Watching the leather work and listening to the rain
Cutting and Backing
Math is hard in the summertime!
Sewing the Top
Adding Border & Creating the Back
If you'd like to read more about our quilt, check out my mother-in-law's blog. She wrote more about the actual process. Quilts and Other Stuff
I'm looking forward to hanging this in my classroom! I just need to make time to go to the hardware store for a pipe/rod....
Thank you, Frances! I truly enjoyed the time together and the process of making a quilt. It's a wonderful way to celebrate my 10 years in teaching, and I will treasure the experience!
Mixed in with the school work, I have made time for some fun! I will be honest, I really like going out for lunch (something I'm not able to do during the school year)! Restaurants offer some nice lunch specials! It's so nice to be out in the world, around adults, DURING the day.
My favorite lunch was to the Saltwater Burger Bar. My work bestie and I made a day of it. The Burger Bar is such a innovative experience. You get to sit in the kitchen! And watch the chefs do their thing. It was delicious and fun!
After lunch, work bestie and I went to IKEA and then apartment hunting...because why not? We both are looking at the same area of town. She's looking to rent; we're looking to possibly buy. So we went to look around.
As an elementary teacher, I treasure each summer to rest and recharge. But mixed in with the rest, there is also work to be done. (Albeit, work done in my pj's and on the couch) Another art teacher friend posted this article. While parts of it rant a bit, the article explains how summer break does not mean complete vacation. Summer Break
The school work I have done this summer has excited me for the coming year! I have revamped my curricula for each grade level. This included researching new exemplar artists, designing new projects, and actually writing the lesson plans. I'm really looking forward to the creative journey we will be taking this year! I have also been up to my classroom at least once a week to begin setting up. My amazing PTA purchased new bookshelves for my classroom, so I have put those together. I love that kind of thing! Visual directions, using my hands, and BUILDING something! :-)
This coming year will be year 11 of teaching for me! I have seen 4 classes of 5th graders all the way through elementary school, from Kindergarten through 5th grade. It is such a privilege to work with these students every year. I love that I get to see them grow up!
Whoops! I haven't blogged since November 2016!?
Life has been busy, to say the least. But at the same time, routine. (Used in a positive way!) We enjoy our life, even if it's "routine."
In the last 7 months since I have blogged...
With each birthday, Brian gives me a harder time about being a "cradle robber". (I am a mere 9 months older than him, which apparently makes me a cradle robber.) My age in numbers doesn't bother me! 32 is just another number. I am thankful to have another year of life!
But in the last few weeks, both Brian and I have had some interesting interactions involving age!
First, we were out to dinner with some good friends, and we ordered a couple of beers. Brian wasn't carded, but I was! I have always been told I look younger than I am (and I'll take it for as long as I can), but it's never happened that way. We either both get carded; or we both aren't. There are a few restaurants we go to frequently that have stopped carding me; and I'll be honest, I like it. I actually look my age -- or at least old enough to be drinking legally :).
Second, after the above mentioned dinner, we ran a few errands. The first errand was to the pet store to pick up cat liter. The cashier, a young man maybe in his early 20s?, was very forward and asked Brian how old he was, explaining, "I can't tell your age because of the spiky hair!" When Brian answered with 31, the answer was "Yeah, man. Doesn't it sneak up on you like whoa!" I left the store just confused. Why would Brian's hair style dictate his age? His hair isn't young or old...I don't think. Do we need to wearing our hair a certain way now that we are in our 30s? ha.
And then last, I was doing our weekly grocery shopping and stopped at the deli counter. The young man asked if I was a stage actor. Thoroughly confused, I answered with "No, why would you ask?" And he commented that I project my voice very well. He taught drama students for 5 years how to project their voices and gets excited when he hears someone doing it naturally. I explained that I'm a teacher. "Ah, that makes sense," he answered and asked how long I'd been teaching. My answer of "this is actually my 10th year" really surprised him.
"I must be gauging your age wrong. You don't look old enough to have taught that long."
"Well, thank you! I'm 32."
His response threw me for a loop, and I had no idea how to respond! "You're almost as old as my dad! He's 34"
How in the world am I as old as his DAD!? This kid (I had gauged his age really wrong, too) can't be but 20 at the max. And never before have I been told that I'm as old as a parent by anyone older than a 2nd grader. I expect it from a 2nd grader! They're 7. He responded with "we have an interesting family." I didn't want to pry or for him to think I was judging him. Every family is different! I was just in shock that I am now as old as "parents." He congratulated me on having my life together at such an early age and handed me my turkey.
I'm old enough to be "as old as your parents"? What? When did that happen? :)
I can't believe this will be my 10th year of teaching! It doesn't feel like that much time has passed. I will have seen 4 classes of 5th graders all the way through elementary school. Crazy!
I love my job, and I love my students! It truly is a privilege and honor to get to work with them every day. This has been a difficult start to the year, but it is even-ing out. After four weeks, I feel we're finally "getting to the meat!" The hardships of paperwork, setting up a classroom, class sizes, new initiatives, etc. can really drain you without you realizing it.
Art21 Educators really solidified my calling to be an educator. And my friend Stacey will forever be in my head. During a video chat, as I'm complaining and questioning whether I should find another job, she said, "No. You're meant to be a teacher." This echoed in my head the next day, during my largest class, when my frustrations were the highest. I am meant to be a teacher. It is part of who I am.
And that's ok. We discussed during the summer institute the personal and professional. And how as educators the personal is necessary. I don't have to separate the two. It's ok that educator is such a big part of my identity. The personal and professional overlap for me, and that is ok. That is powerful. And meaningful. And needed.
The Art21 institute was an amazing experience! I was challenged and renewed; excited and motivated to get into my classroom; and I made some amazing friends that will last a lifetime. We stayed in NYU freshmen dorms (which I quickly realized, I DON'T miss dorm life!), and I loved how everything was walkable! We walked to class, walked to dinner, walked everywhere! It was great!
I was intrigued by the neighborhoods in New York. Each has it's own distinct identity and very clear boundaries. There's no overlap or gray areas. You walk a block, cross the street and are in a new neighborhood! I liked this as well as the grid system. I very quickly was able to navigate my way around because of the streets and avenues!
It was crazy how my time in New York had felt like another world. When I returned home, I was thrown back into real life! I was immediately busy with school responsibilities, work, and house chores. (Hence the reason I am just now blogging! A month and a half later...) New teacher orientation and then preplanning hit. It's been non-stop since then! And now, we have completed four weeks of school!
It's hard to really put into words my experiences. It was such an amazing, overwhelming, and beautiful week. Joe Fusaro, Art21 Senior Education Advisor and co-founder of the Art21 Educators Program, wrote an article that explains the week better than I ever could. (Click on the photo below to read the article.)
On Tuesday I leave for New York where I will begin my journey with Art21 Educators. I have already been introduced to my Art21 mentors and been welcomed into a great community of educators. This year-long professional development program starts with the summer intensive workshop and will continue throughout next school year through webinars and online resources.
I am super excited (and a little nervous)! But, I know this is going to be an amazing experience that will challenge me and improve my instruction. I am honored to be accepted into the program and so very thankful for the support I've received from my school, administration, and PTA.
Check out the Art21 blog for updates and more information.