Friday, September 22, 2017

The Grind Stone

A lot of things and nothing have been happening lately.

Our home life is the same every day after school.  It consists of trying my very hardest to have energy to play with Brad after the most exhausting day of school.  Brad is so stinkin' cute.  But man do I feel guilty that I am so freaking tired that all I want to do is sit on the couch and cuddle with Brad as we watch a show.  We've gone to the park or played outside this week, but to be real it is so hard.

The grind stone: school.

My students are absolutely delightful.  Seriously.  I don't know if I have ever been happier with a set of students.  Why?  Because I have an AP class, 3 honors classes, a yearbook class (the best of the best students in the whole school) which gives me the patience to work with 2 regular Geography classes.

That being said, I don't know if I have ever been so overwhelmed with teaching before.  And it is absolutely kicking my trash.  I can point a lot of fingers at the reasons my job is so freaking much right now but............................ why?

Ok, I'll explain one reason, due to a scheduling change in the school in a given week, I have about 7 less hours a week to prep for classes.  That is 7 hours that I am now trying to cram in at 4 am or during my lunch or during class.  And it sucks.

But for now.... I want to focus on the good.

Yesterday morning I read President Trump's speech to the United Nations.  A relative had posted it on Facebook commenting, "I'm sure liberals hated it. College faculty and students hated it. The left and some on the right hated it. The media and Hollywood hated it. The UN probably didn't care for it either. Some of you reading this hated it. But Trump's UN speech was well written and well spoken. It hit the points that I felt he should have hit in front of that assembled audience. It was bold and straightforward. It filled me with hope and pride. It was by far the best speech he has given to date. How well the President and the UN act on those points is anyone's guess."

So I read it.  I was blown away by how absolutely fitting and wonderful it was.  It gave me a sense of pride and hope I haven't felt for a very long time. 

Brit and I had been talking the other day about how to keep the passion for teaching alive.  I think it is the most difficult part of teaching.  And yesterday was a reminder about what I need to do to keep it alive.  I need to be constantly changing, learning, growing to keep up the passion. (Which is darn near impossible with my current schedule but I'm trying)

Anyway, in my regular geography class, with kids that don't give a dang about education, I talked them through President Trump's speech.  The speech is 40 minutes long so I knew there was no way the kids would want to listen to it.  So I did my best to accurately portray what President Trump said.  I was absolutely shocked with how much my students were engaged in the discussion.  So much so that when I finished the discussion as the students were suppose to get to work on the daily assignment one of them asked, "Mrs. B, can we listen to his speech as we work?"  I said of course!

So the rest of class they silently worked on their descriptions and pictures of the 5 major types of climates around the world while we listened to part of the speech.  I felt like it was such a success that I told Brit about it in between classes.

A few minutes later I got a text from Brit during class that said, "Just had a student come into class and ask, 'Can we listen to President Trump's speech while we work?' I looked up his schedule and sure enough, he had you first period."  Brit started the speech where we had left off in my class.

This kid is a punk.  He had just gotten back from being suspended for 2 days.  AND I had even convince him, if just for a moment, to care enough about the world to pay attention!  Absolute success.

(Of course I had to give a whole speech before saying anything positive about Trump that I am not trying to say Trump is good or anything like that.  Which is really kinda messed up and sad that we can't openly support our President in our current society.)

But success all the same.

And I need to write down the successes because I came home from school pretty beat up.  The grind stone is hard and I need to focus on the good to remember why it is worth it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Update on Life - So Long Sweet Summer

So every summer I spend WAY too much time creating my "blogbook".  Where I take all the things on the blog plus now hundreds of other pictures and put it in a book to be printed.  This year the book is 200 pages!  Like well over a thousand images.  Insane.  And it takes every bit of energy I have to finish before school starts.  So I am usually totally drained by the time I finish.  So my blog is always lacking from August to..... Halloween?

But here is an update on life:

Jason's wrist has been bugging him for years.  And not to get back on my soap box about physicians.... but Jason went to a specialist a couple years ago and the doctor said it was arthritis and there was nothing to be done.  So for the last two years he has been dealing with the pain.  Being a dentist and having pain in your wrist is probably very bad news.  So Jason finally decided to get a 2nd opinion.  He went to a hand specialist who did an MRI and found nothing.  Luckily this doctor was a rockstar and was fairly certain Jason had a ganglion cyst in his wrist that the MRI didn't pick up.  So Jason had "exploritory" surgery on his wrist with our fingers crossed hoping to find a cyst.  Of course the first time this super rockstar busy surgeon was availiable to do the surgery was the first week of school... I thought I wouldn't be able to be with him during his surgery.  Jason's plan was to drive to the hospital, have the surgery, then wait until I was able to pick him up after school.  That would have been a disaster seeing how his surgery was at 6:30 am.  Anyway, luckily I got special permission from my superintendent to miss school to be with Jason.  So off we went.
The hilarious thing is Laura, my dear cousin, is a nurse.  As we were driving to TOSH (the hospital where Jason was having his surgery) I said to Jason, "Isn't this where Laura works?"  Jason acutally talks and interacts with Laura more than I do because it is her boat Jason has been working on all year.  Anyway, when I went to pick Jason up after surgery I hear Laura yelling at me, "Kristin!!!!!!!!!! WHY in the world didn't you tell me you guys were coming here?  Jason is stoned out his mind in here eating cookies and drinking Dr. Pepper." So we had a great time after the surgery watching Laura in action.

Of course Jason's only question for the surgeon after the surgery, well besides the fact that he DID find a cyst, was, "When can I go wakeboarding?"

So it's been a little interesting around here after the surgery.  Jason has been trying to baby his wrist but Brad doesn't have much tolerance for a Dad that doesn't want to play.  Jason has been wonderful to play with Brad even while he iced his wrist. 

Last Saturday I decided to take Jason on a hike that Brad and I had attempted earlier in the summer and it had been a completely disaster.  We had gone with a hardcore "mommy and me" hiking group.  Although we went in June, we went on a terrible day and it snowed on us.  Brad screamed the whole way done the trail because he was so cold.  So I figured we need to attempt this hike again.  It is the American Fork side of the Mt. Timponogos trail.  But we only went the 2.4 miles to Scout Falls. 

As long as Brad had his binkie and his blankie he was a trooper! It was the first time ever he actually wore his glasses without taking them off!

Of course because it was Labor Day weekend, all of Utah was on the hike but it was fun running into 3 different groups that we knew!

After we went to Tibble Fork Resivoir to check out the newly added beach.  It was freezing cold so we didn't stay long, but it was sure beautiful.

On the way home we went through a drive thru because Brad was fast asleep from that hard hike! :)  My sure hope my fortune cookie comes true!
Later on Saturday we took Brad out to the lake at Daybreak.  With a little imagination I could almost picture I was somewhere beautiful on the East coast......
Jason tried out Brad's life jacket to see if Brad would freak out.  Brad freaked out a little but I was pleasantly surprised that he handled floating in the water by himself for a little bit.
Brad has my genetics.  At 6:30 he was begging to "nigh nigh".  So Jason put him down for a nap.  At 8:30 Jason tried to wake him up.  It was hilarious.  Jason pretend Brad was jumping on a horse or riding a dirt bike.... nothing was going to take that kid up.  Finally Jason gave up and snuggled with Brad while we watched TV.

On Labor Day Jason decided it was finally time to have Brad go for a ride on the dirt bike.  Although Brad was scared of the loud sound, he squealed and squealed as Jason took him around our backyard.

Then Monday afternoon we took the boat out on Jordanelle.  It was a pretty pleasant boating trip!  Every time I watch Jason boating, I am amazing at how skilled he is!  And the smile on his face is like no other.
Oh the life of a life jacket...........

Brad did better than ever on the boat!  But a huge part of that was because of Aunt Ali!  She was so wonderful to give me a break and play with Brad!  He love love loved every minute of being with her.

Brad was so excited to see all the boats.  This kid is learning to love the boat.

So this is the end of summer.............. always a bitter sweet feeling.  But the good news is, there is always something fun on the horizon!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The State of my Teaching Life

I am not one to ever complain of being too busy or to ever have too much to do.  It's a part of who I am.  It's part of my efficiency super power but also it's a part of the fact that I rarely or never bite off more than I can chew.  I'm probably just too lazy for that.

Until now.

My work life has never been this crazy.

I probably bit off more than I should have.

- The state completely changed my curriculum for Geography/World Civ so I am completely redoing ALL of my lesson plans.

- My dear sweet teaching partner retired so I am training TWO new brand new teachers on how to teach my class while navigating the oh so insane world of junior high.

- I am in charge of the yearbook again this year.

- I am on two different school committees trying to be the voice of reason as they make drastic changes in the school.

- They completely wrecked and are trying to rebuild the schedule of our school that took away a 30 minute grace/makeup/yearbook used time in the day that I am missing greatly.  So now all kids that need help/makeup/retake have to come in before or after school between my meetings for my committees and before I have to leave to pick up Brad.

- AND I took on AP Human Geography.  A course that is way more intense than anyone could possibly think.  Trying to teach a 300 level college course to 9th graders.  It has already brought me more stress and pure joy to work with kids that want to learn.  It is awesome and horrible.

And I am exhausted.

But hallelujah it's Labor Day.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The First Annual Family Weekend in San Diego

When I looked up flights and calculated that it would only cost about $35 more to fly to San Diego than to drive I knew flying was a good idea.  When it took us 4 hours total from door to door (which included the 30 minutes to the Provo airport and the 60 minutes from the San Diego Airport to Jason's parents house..... I knew it was a FABULOUS idea)  I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about flying out of Provo!!!  (Of course I have heard all sorts of disastrous stories about delayed or canceled flights)  But flying this time with Brad was an absolute delight!  

We live about 20 miles south of the Salt Lake Airport so every time we are outside playing in our backyard we can see the airplanes in take off and landing.  Brad will call out, "Bye!" as he waves at the planes.  He was pretty excited to see an airplane so close waving at it and yelling Bye over and over again.

Now that Brad is at the age where he can watch a show and be entertained, an 80 minute flight is pretty dreamy.  He just loved sitting on one of our laps and watching The Secret Life of Pets the whole time.  I was bummed we weren't sitting by the window so he could watch, but oh well.

So we left our house at 8, got to San Diego at 10, unpacked and got settled, and headed to the beach by 12:30.  Awesome beautiful day.

Jason came up with the best way to describe Brad right now.  He is like Will Ferrell as Buddy in the movie Elf.  He is genuinely so excited about everything.  He squealed and screamed in delight the entire hour we were at the beach.  He thinks the beach is the coolest thing ever.

He would run to and from the water over and over and over again.

After the beach we headed back to play with Grandma at the pool.  Once again, Brad was in heaven.

Then the party began!  Most of Jason's siblings, spouses, and kids came to hang out for the weekend.  The first day we spent a lot of time in the pool, playing games, and just hanging out.

One of the highlights of the day was a fancy dancy Italian dinner with just the adults.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the appetizers!  Calamari, caprese salad, fried zucchini, green salads, meats, and cheeses. So delicious! But by the time we finished the appetizers I was almost full!  So I did my favorite thing ever, ordered dessert for dinner!  

On Saturday we went to lunch at the habor for fish and chips.  


Obviously Brad was loving every single minute of this weekend.  He loves his aunt Wendy!

Other activities at the house included: a macaron cooking demonstration (that shockingly turned out!), thoughtful gifts from Wendy, a fun make up sample exchange (well minus the whole exchange part), cornhole, piano practice with Grandma, and just lots and lots of attention and playing for Brad.

The weekend ended with an exciting (I hate exciting) trips to the airport when I realized our flight was an hour earlier than I thought.  With 12 minutes until our gate closed Jason and I geared up to make it on the flight.  I was in charge of Brad and actually getting on the flight while Jason would be in charge of getting the carseat, stroller, and 3 bags through security.  We decided at least Brad and I should make it on the flight.  It was just like Home Alone.  Brad squealed with delight as I ran with him down the terminal carrying him in one hand and my shoes in the other.  We made it with 3 minutes to spare.  And I must add it made traveling with a baby so much easier!  No wait, just straight on the plane and take off!  It was an absolutely wonderful weekend.  And this final picture just show how absolutely wonderful it was.