Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Final 10 for 10 Update

I'm a procrastinator. I thrive on the final moment. It's bad. However, as 2010 winds down and I'm beginning to look forward, I need to reflect first.

My one little word (OLW) this year was intentional. I feel that I started off the year being very intentional and slacked off after the summer. I let a lot of things slip, including friendships. Not sure why. I do know that it will shape though how I spend my time in 2011.

1. Read three professional books
  • Daily Five by The Sisters (as they are known)
  • CAFE book (by same authors as above)
  • Boy Writers by Ralph Fletcher
2. Run 5 5K's
  • Due to tendonitis, I am in a boot and will be walking one this morning (I think it still counts, right?) - Did it in about 45 minutes
  • Ran/walked one over Labor Day weekend.
  • And while it may not count (since I was thinking races), I did run 3 5K's on the treadmill this month. Decreased my time from 41 to 38:11 to 37:35.
3. Run a sub 30 5K
  • Yeah, that didn't happen. There's always next year, right?
4. Pay off debt to dad (and thus, be debt free except my mortgage)

  • uh, yeah, I'm debt free!!!!!!!!!!
5. Go to Honduras on a mission trip (scared of flying)
  • Have my passport now and will pay my first installment tomorrow
  • Have paid half of the trip
  • Went on trip...Wow! I am so glad I went...there will be tons of posts about it.
6. Clean off all of the clothes off my floor and have them put away.
  • Uh, this is a work in progress...what must I do to get this in order - Any ideas, readers?
7. See a movie by myself
  • Saw Date were definitely funny, others a little uncomfortable. I do enjoy Steve Carell though.
8. Give blood 4 times (one down and three to go)
  • Signed up for my second one - it's sponsored by CW25 for The Vampire Diaries - I'll let you know how that turns out :)
  • Have given twice and will only be able to give one more due to traveling to Honduras in July.
  • Have A+ blood...maybe that's why I am so smart! :)
  • Gave three times and because of traveling to Honduras, cannot give again till next year. However, if I go to Honduras again next summer - which I am planning on doing - I can't give until a year after I get's a vicious cycle!
9. Write my compassion children three times each this year
  • wrote each one once so far
  • replied to their letters December 29 and sent stickers
  • sent 10 photographs with captions to translate for them December 30
  • Want to up this for next year!!!
10. Finish reading whole Bible (on track to finish mid-July)
  • About two more weeks and then the OT is finished! On to the NT...excited!
  • Reading the NT right now - in the gospels
  • Finished the first day I was in Honduras - How cool is that?!
Looking back, I am proud of some and want to continue improving on others. Thankful that I focused on several areas of my life and cannot wait to unveil my 2011 OLW as well as my ambitions for next year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Vacation

One thing that I love about Christmas is the lights...
Near my friend's house

Across from my friend's house

The Griswold's live next door to my friend. Not really...but wow! I loved it!

Our park in our town

Again at the park. And now that I know where some of my extra features are on my camera, I may head back there to see what I can capture!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


What is an NSV? It's an acronym for Non-Scale Victories and I am planning on sharing many over the next few months.

A few years ago, I made many life changes which resulted in becoming a healthier and fitter me. I am on that path again, but without the scale.

I was asked why by a friend. Because I want to make healthy choices. Because I want to control it rather than it control me (my out of control eating habits). Because I want to wear some clothes that are in my closet that feel too tight to be flattering. Because I want to remain active and be proud of my choices. And for those reasons, I am going to focus on NSV's.

My first NSV was having my third 5K in three weeks be 40 seconds faster! Woo hoo! I ran sprints the other day with a friend and actually smiled during part of the run. I felt like a runner again. I liked the feeling of my legs moving and my arms pumping. It was nice to feel that again.

I know I am not a number and while I will be looking at measurements once a month and how my clothes fit, I am not a number on a scale. The numbers of my clothes and body don't seem to have the power over me that the scale does. I can't bear to know what that number is. I'll either be proud of myself or disappointed and I refuse to do that to me. I've come too far. I just don't want to go back and therefore, need to focus on some NSV's. I hope you can join in sharing my joy as I share them with you.

Playing around

I bought myself a new camera. The one I used to use was 7 megapixels. I knew I wanted to upgrade and from a friend's recommendation, I switched brands from Sony to Canon.

I was pretty impressed with a few of the extra features that were offered with what I bought, but then become disheartened when I couldn't find how to use them. And yes, I checked the manual, but couldn't seem to make heads or tails of it.

Lo and behold...after a few touches of a button, I found some great features!!! Let me share some photos with you. And a word of warning, I had just moved back home from a week of dogsitting and had unloaded all of my presents from everywhere.

Picking out the green hues...
Picking out the red hues...
Picking out the green in my house...can you tell I LOVE green?

This tree was my great-aunt's. My grandma had one too! I am thankful to have been given this from my mom so I could set up a tree that my cat doesn't chew on. Picked out the red tones.

This is the miniatures effect. I think it would look better with other items in it, such as buildings or cars or having subjects far away, but it's still kind of fun how some objects are blurred and others aren't.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I am currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. While some parts are interesting and coming from a secular viewpoint, there was one month where she focused on playing. She chose what she enjoyed doing. It got me to thinking. What do I enjoy?

Currently, I take a Chinese class once a week at our local library. It's taught by an older gentleman and while he is super-sweet, I don't think he understands English very well. At first, I really enjoyed going. It helped me establish a better relationship with my Chinese student in class. As time went on, we end up going over the hour limit. We repeat and repeat, when in my mind I got it the first or second time. I dread going now. I don't look forward to it, but go because I don't him to feel bad. I ended up not going to a college get-together on those nights because I was already tired and just wanted to go home. I can't attend a book study that I really want to try out.

Therefore, I've made a decision. While I will feel bad as the class dwindles down (there are only a few of us that show up now), I would rather spend that hour learning and practicing Spanish or going to a book study. That's what I'm going to do. I feel better. I'm choosing to do what I enjoy.

Is that too selfish of me?

What I learned NOT to do...

I learned to NOT go out after working out to my local stores. I ran into way too many people today and I was in my workout clothes and had had no shower. Nice. Most of the people I ran into are people I see from school and social events. I am always put together when I see them...except for today.

I learned to NOT complain about a gift card until you type the correct 16 letters and numbers to redeem. How was I to know that that last letter was an F and not an E? Thankfully, I was able to finally input information correctly and we'll just pretend that hadn't happened.

A few weeks ago, I learned to NOT just grab my tennis shoes and head out the door. I ended up with a left and a right of two different models. Same brand, just different models. No one really knew except my feet. I still got my sprints in, but it was definitely a different feel.

I learned to NOT keep sweets that I make. I do not currently have the will-power to handle them well. Therefore, I ran half of the batch of cake truffles under the faucet today. I even spoke to the sweets and told them I didn't need them and sent them down the disposal. Next time I make treats, several will be going to deserving friends, neighbors, and maybe even some of my blog readers. :)

What did you learn NOT to do today?


I needed a break from technology, so I took one. It was nice. I had the opportunity to dog and house-sit for a family from church. While they had free wi-fi at their house (and I could use it from anywhere in the house - not just in front of up my upstairs window), I tended to not be on as much.

Sure, I had posts to write...I just chose not to.

For my faithful readers and for those who check their Google Reader, thanks for staying faithful and continuing to come back. I'll have a few things over the next few days to post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Making a choice

Today was tough. I am understanding now why routines and structure are HUGE in a classroom. When it doesn't happen, the class erupts into confusion and frustration.

I haven't conferenced with students like I normally do in writing workshop and today it showed. I have done lots of mini-talks with students, but not the way I normally do it.

Today, after they went to library, I took a few minutes and just slowed down. I lowered my voice when they came back and allowed them to work on what was needed. I pulled kids over to talk and work with them and kept a very calm voice. Surprisingly, that last hour with the kids was probably one of the best.

Now to remember that for tomorrow!


I am getting back on the treadmill. Last week, I ran/walked a 5K in a little over 41 minutes. I think it was 41:05 to be precise. Tonight, I ran/walked it in 38:11. Woo hoo! Next week, I am shooting for even faster...

That's all, just improvement. Taking one step at a time. Pushing myself. Believing in myself again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He said what?

I had a Facebook post from a mom. She shared with me that her son, Cubs fan, had been reading with her and noticed a word he knew, but couldn't remember it. He stopped her and told her he had to take a picture of it for his lexical system!



I had had it today. Things didn't go as planned this week. My letter writing unit will have to carry over into January to give kids the time to do quality work. My inferring and predicting unit is far from over and four days with delays, field trips, and snow days are not helping. And to top it all off, I'm tired of kids losing work.

Today, my talker couldn't find his practice. I told him, "If I find it in your desk, you owe me." What he was going to owe, I don't know, but all I knew was that I didn't want to find it in there. As I began scrounging through the desk, he said, "I don't really care about losing recesses, I only care about learning."

After that comment, I couldn't stay upset. He melts my heart!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hear Me Roar

I go to work out.

I go to refocus.

I go to let go of stress.

I go to feel better.

I don't go to watch make-out sessions.

Tonight, as I was rounding the track, I noticed the group of kids (middle or high school age) hanging out again together. They had been there the other night and two of them seemed awfully chummy and close. Tonight, they hung out again. She rested her head near him.

Second lap, did I see right? Did he just lean down and kiss her? Yep, he did and went for another. I rounded the bend, headed down the stairs and reported it to the desk. Apparently, others had complained and it was taken care of. Satisfied, I walked back into the gym and was headed back up the stairs, when out of the corner of my eye (stupid teacher scanning), he leans down again and begins another small session.

Upon another scan, I noticed that the younger elementary students in the youth lounge spying on these kids.

Then, Teacher Cathy's voice roared out of nowhere...most of what I remember saying (yelling across the gym) was "completely inappropriate" and "young kids are watching." I stormed out again and back to the front desk telling them that it hadn't been taken care of.

I guess they took care of it, because after walking back up the stairs, the kids were gone. It saddens me that it was not enough of a big deal to carry on this behavior in a very public place. Am I just old-fashioned?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Smiles all around

After talking with my Star Wars boy, I had to write down as he was talking. I just laughed and laughed (inside, of course).

First, he wanted to know what a gizzard was after looking at diagrams of dinosaurs. I read the article off of Wikipedia. He couldn't see to figure out how to open up the Internet. Apparently at his house, "it just poofs up on his computer."

We talked about digestion. He had had salad "with the red sauce" at lunch. I tried to explain how it broke down into smaller pieces so his body could use it and the path that the broken up food takes. He had heard of "instines", which I taught him the correct word for intestines.

I then explained how a bird, at which point he interrupts me and tells me "You need to be specific. What kind of bird?" I guess that's what I get for asking them to be specific with their choice of nouns.

I think at the end of the conversation he knows a little more about gizzards...maybe.

Spelling 101

My talker was very upset because my hater had said the e-h word.

What's the e-h word?

Turns out, they were talking about "down there" and the hater decided that the tunnel should go to you know where (hate typing those words here). I guess they were writing and brainstorming a story/play.

I had a small discussion with him that instead he should say "down there" or point to it instead.

At least he was honest!

Here they go again...

I don't know what it is with this class, but they definitely use the new words we learn. Case in point, dung came up in The Magician's Elephant. One of my boys chimed in with, "My dog's dung is disgusting." I'm glad they are using it, but wow, they make me laugh!

I was teaching about general versus specific. Off the top of my head, I said, "I ate some food for lunch. I ate couscous." I should have known better. Right away, from my talker came "Goose goose?"

We were reading The Widow's Broom and one pictured showed the widow awake and alarmed by what she saw in the kitchen. I asked the kids to infer about her. One of my boys said she looked freaky and my talker said, "She's getting her beauty sleep." I had to grab my blogging book and write it down!

Proof that literacy stations work - While two of my boys were at the computer working on a Storybird, Mr. Unresponsible kept writing sentences that were pretty short and simple. My Young-Old-Man said, "You should do a longer one because it makes us stronger writers." The learning occurred while I wasn't there! Love it!

In The Magician's Elephant, it references orphans and nuns. After teaching about orphans, one of my boys brought up a book that had orphans in it to share with me. I LOVE THIS! Way to connect. However, the class did not know what a nun is. One girl thought a nun wore hoodies. Another thought I had said noun. Another thought a nun was a widow. I tried to explain it as best as I could. Someone wanted to know what a boy nun was (a monk). After explaining that a nun chose to serve God instead of getting married, many of my boys declared that they wanted to be monks. We'll see boys...

I truly wonder what makes them use the words right away in their language. Is it because I model this and use them throughout the day too? Is it just the community that we've established? Is it just because of who they are? Is it a combination of all of these things? Whatever it is, I like learning these words more than the words "suggested" from our basal series.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh no they didn't...

Yesterday was AMAZING! We had great sharing, great talking, and great laughter. On my side anyways.

During a discussion about our new book, we noticed that the pictures were from the past (which the kids did our physical movement of in the past - yay!). I explained to the class about how the pictures of a fair were from the olden days. Without missing a beat, Miss Personality said, "Like when you were born?" You could almost physically hear the bud-da-bump of a drum. I just grinned and then wrote it down!

Then, as we were making the -en family, a student said Ken. I wrote it down and tried to give them some context using my schema. I explained that Malibu Ken was the Ken and Barbie Ken. My Who boy chimed in with (providing his own schema), "There's also a Ken in Toy Story 3." When I began to interject, he said, "No, there really is." I laughed so hard inside as I then explained that my image of Ken was the same as his image of Ken. I don't think the class understood...I guess that shows my age!