Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Things Are Coming Along Nicely

I've had the chance to work in my classroom for a total of 4 days, all told.  And, I've amazed myself at the progress that I've made.  And when I say "I", that really means Peanut and I.  She has been such a great help - and has done so much to help me out.  I wouldn't be near as finished as I am if it weren't for her.

So, today, we've decided to take a day off - because there's really not much more we can do until I get to meet with my principal tomorrow morning and get some idea how the year is going to start.  I've held off on finishing up the decorating - because I really want to put up posters that reflect that current learning....not just cute posters that make the room look good.  Such a teacher, aren't I?

Even though not too much has changed since I posted pictures last time - I wanted to show the most updated pics of my classroom.  So, here's the before pics and the most current pics - that I took yesterday...

Day One
A week later
Day One
A week later
The desks all now have name plates on them and colored pencil holders.  The bulletin boards are pretty much finished - except for the purple one in the corner.  And, I've made some progress to my desk and the library area...

I still need more storage room for my books.  I only emptied less than half of my book collection - and the book shelves are already almost full. 

All in all, we are pretty much done with what we can be done with until my meeting with the principal tomorrow. 

It really is such a great feeling walking in to my classroom now.  It's all kind of sunk in that I'm really going to be doing this - teaching, that is.  It's been a long time in the making, and finally it's really all setting in that I've accomplished a life-long dream.  Such a surreal feeling, that's for sure. 

I have a week and four days until I go back to work.  That sounds weird.  A week from Friday, I'll be attending new teacher orientation - and my journey will officially begin.  Just a weekend and two days after that, the kids will be stepping in to our new room for their first day.  I'm ready...well, not exactly - but mentally I am. 

OK, time to enjoy my day off - I guess.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

One Exciting Thing to Another

The last time I wrote here, I was all excited because my kids were going away for a week to their grandparent's house - and I was going to spend a week completely alone with Hubby.  And throughout that entire week, I didn't come here once.  Not sure why...it was a great week.  But, I didn't.

That week, we spent time being extremely laid back.  We did make a few trips out.  One trip was to Tulsa to spend the day shopping.  Another trip was to the movies - where we saw two movies - and then out for dinner.  Both trips were nice - but nothing compared to the time we got to spend at home doing nothing more than relaxing. 

But even spending a glorious week relaxing with Hubby is nothing compared to the excitement that I've felt this week.  An excitement I've waited so long for, it's not even funny.  And that excitement was attributed to the fact that Monday was the first day I was able to get in to my classroom.

Words can't even explain how amazing and wonderful it felt to step in to my very own classroom.  And one the excitement wore off just a tad, the sudden onset of overwhelming anxiety hit.  Seeing my classroom, completely bare, made me realize just how much work I needed to do.  But thankfully, I have a couple of weeks to get it all done - and now I'm not so overwhelmed.

The very first thing I did when I stepped in to my room was take some pictures.  I wanted "before" pictures to look back on.  And here they are...

Pic from the back of the room

The literal first glimpse at my room
And after spending two days in my room, it now looks like this...

Bulletin boards now decorated

Desks and chairs unstacked

Some improvement - but still a long way to go.

Peanut and I will spending another day in there tomorrow, and then all next week will be hitting it hard.  My goal is to have the room completely ready to go by next Friday. 

It's so exciting!!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

What To Do When There's No Kids For A Week?

I'm a little giddy today.  It will sound bad why I'm so giddy... but in all honesty?  I don't care!

Tomorrow or Monday, I'm going to be taking my kids to my parent's house to spend an entire week.  All three of them.  Well, one is already there... but the other two are going to join her.  And that excites me beyond explanation.

Before anyone starts thinking that I'm the kind of mother who can't wait to pawn her kids off to someone else - check yo'self!  I've been home since May 17th with my kids.  In fact, for the first four weeks following that date - I was not only home with them, but with three children that weren't mine.  So, I know you're thinking "Big Whoop - They are my kids I should be home with them".  But EVERYONE deserves a break!

I love my kids, and I love spending time with them.  But, sometimes this momma needs some alone time.  She needs time to be able to spend some quality one-on-one time with her amazing fiance.  She just needs time to breath.

And, the best part is the fact that my kids LOVE spending time with their grandparents.  My mom has a pool - and a pool during the summer is all my kids need to keep them occupied.  So, this isn't just a vacation for me - it's also a vacation for them.  Cause, I know that my kids sometimes get sick of spending every single minute of ever single day with me.

So, what is a gal to do when she has a whole week to do whatever the heck she wants?

I have no idea.

I know I'll be spending a lot of time at the gym.  I know that I'll be spending a lot of time with Hubby.  But, I really want to have a "stay-cation".  Something that we wouldn't normally do with the kids in the house.  Go to the movies, go out to dinner, visit places we haven't been before.  You know, like date stuff.

One thing Hubby and I didn't ever do was the "dating" thing.  We met, we chatted online and on the phone, we started meeting regularly at my house, and then he moved in.  We didn't go out.  We never went out on dates.  Dates consisted of spending an hour or two at my house watching TV before he had to leave to go to work.  We got to know each other by spending hours and hours talking online.

Now that we've been together for more than 7 years?  I'm ready to date my Hubby (who isn't technically my official Hubby yet, but that's in the works). And this may be a little more challenging than it sounds.  You see, Hubby is a homebody.  He would much rather rent a movie, sit on his chair, and relax.  Going out isn't something he particularly likes doing.  Going out is my thing...something I always want to do.

But what's the fun in that?

I can do that any time...with our without the kids here.

So, now I have to come up with some stuff that we can both do - and both enjoy.  And I only have a day to plan.  The decision for my kids to go to their grandparents just happened this morning.

What makes it more difficult is the fact that Hubby works nights.  He has an inkling that he might have a few days off next week - or even get off work early - but that still makes being out during the day difficult... cause the guy has to rest.

But, I'm confident that I'll come up with some stuff.  There's no way I'm going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers.  Just not going to happen.

Time to start planning!!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Less Than One Month to Go

Time flies when you're having fun, I guess.  Or more appropriately, time flies when I don't bother to come here and update what I'm doing more often.

Truth of the matter is, it's hard keeping up with two blogs.  I'm religious at posting on my other blog - and when the purpose of this blog is to share everything else that's going on in my life minus the weight loss stuff, I come to the conclusion that not much more goes on in my life.  Period.

It's been four weeks since I got back from my parent's house.  Four weeks of waking up whenever I want, moseying around the house, coming up with things to do to keep the kids occupied, and trying not to stab someone anytime I hear "Mooooommmm...can you tell *child of choice* to stop looking at me".

Ahhh, the life of a stay-at-home during the summer mom.

Then, this morning, it hit me that in exactly four weeks tomorrow, I'll be returning back to work...as a 4th grade teacher.  And honestly?  It still hasn't sunk it.  I still haven't been able to wrap my mind around the fact that in four weeks, I'll be embarking on the journey I've waited my whole life for.  OK, not exactly my whole life - but 25 out of the 30 I've been alive.

Since being back from my parent's, I've successfully boxed up all of the books I've collected over the past few years to go in to my classroom library.  All 665 of them.  It took so much longer than I thought it would.. because it's not as easy as taking them off the shelves and placing them in boxes.  Nope.  I had to catalog each book in to an online catalog system, write my name on each one, and then add the AR reading information in to each book.  It took days and days and days.

There are now 6 huge boxes full of books sitting in my kitchen.  And the thought of now having to lift them in to the truck and unload them in to my classroom has me a little worried.  They are freaking heavy!  Thank goodness we own a dolly. 

I'm hoping that in the next week or so I'll get an email from the principal to tell me that I can start getting stuff moved in.  I know it's going to take me a while to get my classroom cleaned and organized the way I want it.  Thankfully, Peanut is excited to help me out.  I was worried that helping her mom in the classroom would be the last thing she wanted to do - being that she was so upset about having to move school districts - but she's told me she wants to help.  So, I am very happy about that.

In the past couple of weeks, I've realized I wasn't allowing myself to be as excited as I should be - because I was clinging to the sadness that came from having to leave the other school district I worked in the past year.  But, a lot of home truths have surfaced in the past few weeks that made me realize that I got the job in the place I'm supposed to be.  I've realized that I can't hold on to the past.  And I most certainly can't feel upset that I didn't get a job in the school I thought I would. 

A new start is exactly what I need.  A new area.  A new faculty.  A new beginning.

Now, I'm rearing to go.  My summer has gone on quite long enough.  Yes, being at home has been wonderful - and I definitely needed the break... but now I'm ready to start.  I want in my classroom.  I want to start preparing.  I'm ready to meet my students.

Just one more month!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Summer Begins in 24 Hours!!

I last wrote on the night of the half way mark of being at my parent's house - so it's only fitting that I write the night before I finally get to go home.

In approximately 24 hours, I will be on my way back to my own house - for good. And it feels FANTASTIC.

Things haven't exactly gone as smoothly as I thought they would go. While I've only been watching one extra child this past week - stuff around the house has been an issue. First, the toilet broke in the kids' bathroom. Nothing major - it's still usable, but will need to be fixed when they get back. Then, my son broke the ride-on lawnmower. My niece broke her glasses. One of the baby chickens died. And the kicker was, two days ago, one of the laptop screens just broke. For no rhyme or reason.

So, my parents are in for a few minor problems when they return.

It could be worse, though. At the end of the day, they did get someone to come and live in their house and take care of their foster kids while they were away. Not only that, but I also had farm animals to take care of, yard work to keep up with, and the rest of the household chores. Not exactly the scenario for how to spend the first month of my summer break - so they can't complain too much. I hope.

When push comes to shove, it could have really been a lot worse for me. While I have been stressed to the max with not being at home with Hubby, and having a lot more responsibility than I'm used to... I'm glad my parents got to take their vacation.

Once I get home, I'll have about 6 weeks left of my summer break before it's time for me to start working on my classroom and getting ready for my first school year as a 4th grade teacher. But, my work will begin WAY before that.

The first item on my to-do list is to inventory and box up all of my books that will go in to my classroom. Then I have to box up all of the other stuff I've collected. I feel like I have a ton of stuff at home - but I'm sure that once it's all in the classroom, it won't look like much.

My office will look bare once all of my school stuff is cleared out. It will feel very weird - but good weird. It will all finally be in the place I've been intending for it to be - in my very own classroom.

I honestly feel like once I go home, it will finally sink in that I got my job. I haven't had any time to celebrate or think about the journey that I've been on to get to this place...and now that I've reached the destination - I need to celebrate and let it soak in. Practically the minute I was offered the job, I had about 20 minutes to celebrate. Then, it was right back to taking care of the stuff for my parents.

I plan on making up for lost time. I have some stuff planned for the next couple of weekends - and I really hope that at some point between when my parents get back and when it's time for me to start work, my parents will babysit my kids for a few days so that Hubby and I can have some time to ourselves. I've missed him a lot. And I think it's only fair. They got a whole month of a dream vacation - I at least deserve a few days of not having any kids.

I'm just glad I made it to this day...and I'll be even more glad at this time tomorrow.

Bring on the new job celebration!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reached the Halfway Mark

The weather today is absolutely beautiful. I'm sitting outside on the front porch watching the kids play - and it's barely 70 degrees. Almost a little too chilly to be out, compared to the weather we've had the past few days.

Being that today is almost over, I can finally celebrate reaching the halfway mark through my parent's vacation - and my time having to babysit. I've endured two weeks, and have only two weeks left. It's been rough, I'm not gonna lie - but I know that if I can make it this far I can make it the rest of the way.

The hardest part through all of this has been the arguing among the kids. Six children - that aren't used to being around each other - can be hard on them. It's even harder on me. The little kids are always bickering among themselves, and the older three are just plain mean to each other...the two girls versus the one boy. It's like Wrestle-mania with words all day long. Nasty stuff. If they would just get along, my life would be easy sailing.. but when does that ever happen?

The past two days, I've been able to spend some time at home. My home. That's helped ease some of my tension - but gosh I can't wait until I can sleep in my own bed again next to my honey. That's something I've dearly missed - and will miss for the duration of this time. Another down side has been that today I said goodbye to my dog, Asia. Hubby and I made the decision that she needed a better home - one with a fenced in yard. I found someone who seemed very nice - and someone that will give her a good home. Tough on me, but better for Asia.

Today I also got all of the stuff needed for my MO license in the mail. That's one stress off my mind. Now that's all taken care of, all I have to do is wait until I get the notification that I'm licensed to teach in MO. No more tests to complete, thank goodness. It's sad to think that I didn't even get a chance to use my AR teaching license in AR, but I will get plenty of use out of my MO teaching license.

Tonight, I'm going to curl up on the recliner and watch some TV and just relax. I deserve it. I have a couple of movies to watch, and I'm just going to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Tomorrow, one of the kids are going away for the weekend - so that will end some of the fighting between the little kids. Saturday, I get a day/evening out with Hubby. He and I are going to a wedding - and the kids will be staying with a friend of mine. It will be so nice to have some alone time, even if it is only for a couple of hours.

Alright, I've had enough... I'm actually cold - which is a great feeling. Time to get inside and relax!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Stuff That Can Change in 9 Days

Nine days ago, I sat in the exact same spot I'm sitting in now typing the last entry I made to this blog. Nine days ago it was a Sunday...the Sunday right after getting out of work for the summer, the first Sunday after arriving at my mom's house, and two days before the interview that would forever change my life as I knew it. Yet, it's been nine days since I've come here to talk about it.

That's mostly because I've written so much about it on my other blog, and in my private journals. Sometimes I forget about this blog...until times like this. It's 8pm..I'm sitting outside enjoying the summer evening, and I don't have anything else to do - so I think about coming here and writing. All of my other writing seems to take place in the morning.

Dinner has been cooked - by me. The dishes have been cleaned - by me. And now it's time for me to take a few moments to myself. No children. No noise - except the sounds of nature. Just me and the blog I often forget about.

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was talking about how calming and relaxing it is being at my parent's house. That situation has changed drastically. It didn't take very long to realize that taking care of 6 children all by myself is anything but relaxing. There are a lot of responsibilities I have to take care of. I have my own children to tend to, and three children that are not my own. I cook, clean, and run all over for appointments and errands. When I'm not doing that stuff there are usually arguments or bickering that I'm tending to. Occasionally, like tonight, I shut myself away from it all and take a few minutes to myself.

The last time I wrote in this blog, I wrote about how I still didn't have a teaching job yet I had an interview lined up the following Tuesday. It was the interview in Missouri. I went to the interview. I met a principal that had never met me before. She had only seen my online application. She had only spoken to me for about 5 minutes before meeting me in person to discuss the interview. She was not alone in interviewing me, she was with her assistant principal, another elementary principal, the superintendent, and a 4th grade teacher. She asked me questions. She listened to my responses. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes. Yet, in that 30 minutes that principal saw something in me that no other principal seemed to. She was the one I've been waiting for all this time. The one principal that would give me a chance to show her what I could do - and that I was born to be in the classroom.

A miracle happened that day. After answering the questions, being myself, laying everything out on the table....she offered me the chance. She asked me to be a 4th grade teacher in her school - right there on the spot. No "thanks, we'll let you know". No "well, we're interviewing a lot of people". All I heard was "I'd like to offer you a 4th grade position". A part of me didn't even believe it was real.

For so long I've been asking for that one principal that would do that very thing. I worked for an entire school year in a school district thinking that would be the key in making some contacts and getting my foot in the door for a teaching job. I was wrong. Even though I did get an interview - it wasn't the position I was supposed to have. I wasn't supposed to get a teaching job based on who I knew... I was supposed to get a teaching job working in a school that wanted me based on what I believed, my passions, and my ideas. And all this time I've been told that wasn't possible. HA!

I have many times described how I think that everything in life happens for a reason - even when the reasons make no sense at all. There was a reason I didn't get a teaching job last year. I didn't know what it was the whole time I was searching and coming up empty. There was a reason I took a teaching assistant position. However, the reason I thought I took that job wasn't correct. You see, this whole time I just thought I didn't know the right people. I didn't have enough connections in "the teaching world" in order to get noticed by someone. I thought that the TA job was the step I needed. I was wrong.

What I've now learned is that the job I've performed this past year served a very different reason - a far more important reason. I wasn't supposed to get a teaching job last year because my ego was too big for my head. The TA job was to teach me what teamwork really meant, it was supposed to give me more experience...and the most important reason I got that job was because I was supposed to discover how much I love working with diverse, economically challenged kids. The kids that don't have much - and need much more than a teacher in front of them.

The school in Missouri has a very diverse, low-income population. Walking in to that interview I already had an upper hand because I'd spent an entire school year working in a school that had a very similar population. The job I've done the past year was to prepare me for that interview. It was to show me the type of school I wanted to work in. And that was the school that finally hired me.

So, even though the past year has been tough, I now know the reason for all the heartache, all the let-downs, all the rejection. It was because I was supposed to wait for this opportunity. And when the opportunity finally came - it all made sense...every last bit of it. If that's not a sure fire sign of believing that everything happens for a reason - then I don't know what is.

I will be at my parent's house until June 15th. At that time, my summer can start. I can start making all the preparations I need to make to walk in to my classroom and start making it my own. I can box up all of the books, posters, anchor charts, and lesson plans I've collected over the past 5 years - they will now all have a home.

This is the moment I've been waiting 25 years for - and it feels fantastic. I couldn't be more happy...and now I know that my dream has just begun.