Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015

Everything always happens at once, doesn't it?

Craig's job is really challenging for us because he misses out on lots of family time. He was gone this weekend, which stunk because #1) it was Mother's Day, and #2) it was the weekend before I leave for the next couple of weeks. It never gets any easier for me to be away from him. (I guess that means I like him, which I suppose is a good thing.)

Well for once, the team was supposed to return home at a decent time Sunday night (i.e. before midnight.) To accomplish this, they had an early evening flight and OF COURSE their game went into 15 innings before it was called at a tie. 15 innings?! Now this could have happened any other weekend, and it wouldn't have been a big deal. But their ridiculous game caused them to miss their flight, and now Craig won't be home until late tonight. We will literally have like 6 hours together before he has to take us to the airport.

On top of that, Charlie is sick. His Mother's Day present to me was a 102.6 fever. The poor guy is so fussy and tired and restless. Not exactly the best circumstances for traveling and being away from his mama.

I'm also getting this crazy anxiety about my trip, which is so unlike me, but I'm chalking it up to the fact that I'm a mom now and if things weren't to go as planned, I have lots more at stake than I have before.

Deep breaths, right? I know everything is going to work out. In four days I'll be on 14 hours worth of flights where I plan to get more hours of sleep in a row than I've gotten since before I was pregnant. I just have to make it to that point!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015

Craig and I were talking recently about how amazing it is how God uses people in each other's lives.

Before Craig and I met, I was looking into going to Africa to teach. I have always been drawn to the idea of working in Africa. But before I could get very far with those plans, Craig swept me off my feet and we got married, moved to Utah, and got lost in the humdrum of everyday life.

After we'd been in Utah a couple of years, Craig met a guy at work named Chris, who had "started a school in Africa." Craig would come home and talk about this guy and his work all the time, and I finally had to tell him that I didn't want to hear it because as amazing as the things this guy was accomplishing were, it depressed me to think that I wasn't doing the things I had wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, my marriage and son are the most phenomenal blessings ever in the whole wide world, but there are still other things I want to do in life. (I think moms are way too often made to feel guilty for pursuing their own dreams and agendas. But that's a whole other topic.)

Fast forward a little and I realized I was wasting my time being bitter, and I instead needed to take action. Instead of telling Craig to stop telling me about Chris and The Senase Project, I started asking more questions. I told Craig that he should tell Chris that I was happy to help him and the organization in any way, just to let me know what I could do. That lead to Chris taking a huge leap of faith in me, and allowing me to start working with the Sponsor a Student portion of the organization. This meant that I would coordinate sponsor/student contact, try to hook students up with sponsors, and so on.  I was so excited to be involved, and so amazed that this guy I barely knew was trusting me.

I told Chris, though, that I would love to help the organization in my capacity as a teacher if an opportunity ever came up. Well sure enough, one did! Not too long after I started helping with The Senase Project, Chris asked if I could help write some supplemental materials to go with the curriculum the school uses. The teachers there don't have many resources, and being a small nonprofit, we don't have the budget to purchase fancy, ready-made curricular materials. That's where I come in!

Now I'm not sure I totally know what I'm doing, but I knew that I definitely couldn't help unless I met these teachers and students, and saw their school in action. I feel like I won't know what it is they need from me unless I experience it first-hand. And so I'm going to Ghana next week. I have no clue what to expect, really. I've travelled internationally before, but never to Africa or a tiny, remote village. I'm a planner, so the unknowns have been hard!

But I'm trying to focus on what I do know. God doesn't do coincidences; there's a reason he moved us to Utah, and a reason he allowed Craig and Chris to connect. There's a reason I've always felt called to serve in Africa, and a reason I'm feeling compelled to do something different with my life right now. The Lord's timing is so perfect and it is beyond comforting to know that we have a Heavenly Father who has already laid out our paths, down to the last stepping stone. I really hope that I'm on the right track, because I know that if it's where the Lord wants me to be, then it's the right place to be. I guess we'll find out!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5, 2015

Sooo I'm a little behind on the blog. Like 2 years behind. What can I say, I've been busy! The last time I posted, the hubs and I were about to start undergoing infertility treatments. Since then, we had a successful pregnancy and our sweet baby boy just turned 1 year old last week! Pregnancy did not agree with me in the least (really--I'm a monster when I'm pregnant), but the outcome was so beyond worth it! Hubby also finished grad school, got a grown up job, we bought a house, and I went part-time with teaching.

As for teaching, it's been a rough couple of years. Last school year was rough because of my pregnancy. This school year has just been rough. I haven't enjoyed my job this year, which makes me so sad to admit. Teaching just isn't about teaching anymore, at least in many places. When I don't allow myself to think about all the extras teachers have to do, I love my job. I love the kids, I love connecting with them, I even love the curriculum. But when I think about the 6 billion other things we're supposed to do, with a smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude, all while maintaining a balanced and fulfilling personal life, I get angry and sad and depressed.

I don't know if teaching is for me anymore.

The thing is, I'm so at peace with that. Usually I'd be a huge ball of anxiety, stressing over what I'm supposed to do with my life, how I'm supposed to help support my family, yada yada yada. But I truly feel like God is preparing my heart and mind for something bigger and better (not that teaching isn't one of the biggest and best things you can do!) I have no clue what it is, but I'm thrilled to figure it out with the Lord's guidance.

And I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, it has to do with my trip to Ghana next week.

Stay tuned for my Ghana adventures!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Make-at-School Mother's Day Gift Idea!

My class made their Mother’s Day gifts this week! This is a project that I’ve done for three years now, and it’s always such a big hit I just had to share. It takes a little bit of effort, but the outcome is worth it, and more importantly, it’s something different that Mom probably hasn’t gotten before. So what is it? Grass Heads! (basically home-made Chia Pets)
This may seem daunting, but I’ve done it with 1st, 2nd, and 5th graders so I know kids of all ages can handle it! Obviously with the younger ones, you just have to model very clearly and be explicit with your directions.
Here is all you need to know to make these cute, springy Mother’s Day gifts:

The Materials
1 knee-high stocking per kid (I get the kind that come as a pair in a plastic bubble for 33 cents at Walmartthat’s around 4 bucks for my whole class)
grass seed
hamster bedding (1 bag was enough for 25 students)
2 googly eyes per kid
1 rubber band per kid
1 styrofoam bowl per kid
8 ounce plastic cups for measuring and scooping
any materials you want to accessorize with (pipe cleaners, scraps of material, etc.)

The Directions
*The kids need to work in pairs to help each other. One student will need to hold the stocking open while the other stuffs it with grass seed and bedding. *

1) Put about 1/8 cup of grass seed in the bottom of the stocking.

2) Put about 4 cupfuls of bedding in the stocking
3) Smush the stocking to turn it into the shape you want.

4) Tie a knot in the bottom of the stocking and cut off the extra material. 

5) Write the student’s initials on the bottom of the grass head near the knot. Hot glue on the googly eyes and have the students create their grass heads’ noses by pulling a little bedding outward and wrapping a rubber band around it.

7) Soak all the grass heads overnight.

8) Put in a sunny spot and water regularly (spray bottles are great for this!)

9) Decorate with accessories, if you so desire. (I had first graders hot glue on “dresses” and stuff. They also like to make things out of pipe cleaners to glue onears, mouths, glasses, barrettes)

10) Send home for Mother’s Day!
I recommend you do this gets messy!
This is a great book to invest in! It has lots of great ideas. I got mine on for just a few dollars.
I will post update pics of the Grass Heads as the grass grows. Like I said, this is just something fun and different you can have your students take home as a gift for Mom on Mother's Day. Have fun! I know your students will!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Break SALE!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on Spring Break this week and it’s been glorious! The weather is finally warm, I haven’t had anything to worry abouttotal bliss. Sadly, tomorrow is already Friday. L When we go back to school Monday, we’ll be in that home stretch! Nine weeks til summer! Anyway, to brighten my mood (and hopefully yours, too!), I’m throwing a sale! Check it out! Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

{FREE} Emergency Sub Plan Idea!

So I’ve seen this idea around the Internet before. It’s not mine (please let me know if it’s yours so I can give you the credit!), but it’s so great I had to share.

Most elementary teachers know and love the Miss Nelson books by Harry Allard. And most elementary teachers dread creating plans for those days we can’t be at school and have to have a substitute. So here is a super easy idea to add to your emergency sub plan file.
All you need is a copy of Miss Nelson is Missing and a paper for each student. (Click on {HERE} to download it for free.  Copy back to back, using whichever versions are better for your students.) Have the sub read Miss Nelson is Missing to your class, then discuss with them some ideas about where you might be. Then have the sub give each student a sheet, and have them write and draw about their ideas. Viola!

 Your kids will absolutely LOVE doing this, no matter what grade they’re in. Mine came up with some super creative ideas and their drawings were adorable. Several thought I wasn’t at school because I had fallen in a volcano, been eaten by a shark, gotten stuck in a waterfall.there were a couple who thought I wasn’t there because I was out getting a divorce. Haha. (I swear I’ve never given them a reason to think that!) One thought I was out having a baby. (Definitely not prego.)Anyway, it’s just a lot of fun for the kids to create, and a lot of fun for you to read, as well! Enjoy!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Take Me Out to the {Verb} Ball Game!

So my hubby is an athletic trainer and his life revolves around baseball. His baseball players get to see way more of his handsome face than I do! I was sitting at a game last weekend thinking about how it’s a darn good thing I love baseball or my life would stink. And I was also thinking about verbs, because what else would a teacher be thinking about on a Sunday afternoon?
I had recently done a week’s worth of verbs with my cute 2nd graders and the next Monday when I asked what a verb was, they had no clue. UGH!!!! I swear I’m not that bad of a teacher! So I knew I needed a game. Kids always learn from gamesbaseball and verbs, baseball and about a Verb Baseball game? What would apparently be the best game my kids had ever played was born. J

The game focuses on the different verb tenses, rather than just the idea that a verb is an action word. My kiddos have never had so much fun with grammar. I played the game in my small group and the kids just couldn’t wait to have their small group turn! Some of them thought it was rigged. Haha. Anyway, you should {check it out}! And if you are one of the first three readers to leave your email address in a comment, I’ll send it to you for free!
Five days ‘til Spring Break!
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