6.30.2010

Wish Granted!

Guess What?! Remember how I told you yesterday that I hoped just one lili would open up so I could see one in full bloom before I left for Utah? 
Well....

Ta Daaaa!!!!
No kidding, as if the lilies read my blog, I woke up this morning to this beautiful surprise!
Little did I know that I lived in the in the desert and that Virginia wouldn't get any rain for days. A few of my flowers couldn't take the heat (literally) so I had to buy a few replacement flowers. Here are the new flowers I planted today!


I could really get used to this whole "spare time/no work" thing!

The Creative Classroom!

I've started a new branch of my blog! It's called the Creative Classroom and I have been wanting to work on it for the past 6 months. Now that it's *summer time* I've had a few minutes to get it started! It will be under construction for the next few weeks, but by the time school starts back up I will have a place to share all of my teaching ideas and lesson plans. It is so rewarding for me to incorporate creativity into my classroom and I'd love to be able to swap ideas with other teachers!

Check it Out!

Check it OuT!

It's only 6:30 in the morning and I've already figured out how to make my own blog button! I've seen these "buttons" all over some of the blogs I like, and I decided it was time to make my own. It's going to be a very productive day!

I love figuring out how to create things on my computer! I am nowhere near computer savvy, so it makes me feel like a brainiac when I accomplish something like this! I mean I whine to my school friend Leslie (our IT pro) at least once a week about work-related computer issues, and the hardest thing I try to do there is play a DVD for my students!

So Leslie, for all of the times you've stifled a laugh when I've come running, this one's for you:).

GardenPatch
Hope you're proud!

6.29.2010

Backyard Haven

There is so much going on in my backyard right now! 

My lilies are about to bloom! I have been watching them closely for weeks and weeks, and this morning when I went outside most of their buds looked like this!



On Thursday morning I am going out of town for a week. What do you want to bet that Thursday afternoon is when they'll decide to open! I really hope at least one opens up tomorrow before I leave!

Look at all of this crazy lettuce! This is my first attempt at growing lettuce and every time I go outside it looks more and more ridiculous. It's on its way to growing as tall as a tree! But who cares when it tastes so good!
 Here is a picture of just one branch of our giant fig tree! One day soon I will have hundreds of ripe figs. This summer I am going to *try* to use most of them one way or another.
So I've been wondering who in the world has been taking so many of the purple flowers off of my salvia plants, and I think I just found my culprit! Look closely and you can see the bee! Annnnd... I guess I'll be  chalking those up to a loss, because there is no way I'm messing with that thing.

Happy Gardening!

6.28.2010

Soaking Up the Sunshine

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
6.25.10 - 6.27.10  Nights 31&32

Well, I didn't waste any time! 24 hours after I said good bye to my students I was soaking up the sun at Rehoboth Beach! My mom, my brother, Chris and I drove there for the weekend and it was the perfect start to what I know will be a very fun, relaxing, exciting summer!

While we were there we literally did almost nothing, which is exactly what made it so perfect.  We laid by the pool, read, ate, laid on the beach, read, and ate! I was so lazy by Sunday morning that I caught myself debating whether or not it was even worth turning over on my lounge chair. It was awesome

I only managed to take a few pictures, as it was hard to use my camera when I refused to move. However, I did take a few minutes to practice shooting manually and was able to get the sand picture above and the fence and beach pictures below! 

Hope you had a great weekend!


6.24.2010

SCHOOOLS OUT FOR SUMMAAAHH 2!

 270 Days
1,080 Lesson Plans
4,050 Emails
7,020 Morning Greetings
810 Meetings
14,040 Hugs
26 Future Leaders

 1 Last Day of Third Grade

Well, at 11:30 am this morning my SUMMER officially began! It hasn't yet hit me that the school year is really over. I mean, tomorrow is Friday and I don't have to set my alarm. What?!

So as I predicted, the end of the year did not come without tears. In attempting to write thank you cards to my students last night, I cried like a baby for an hour straight. Then, when I woke up this morning, all it took was Chris asking me if I was excited about the day for me to start blubbering again. I managed to get through the actual goodbyes with my students without completely falling apart, but I think it was only because my eyes couldn't make replacement tears quickly enough. 

I tried to make the last 2 weeks of school for my students as fun as humanly possible. I packed our agenda so full I could hardly keep all of the dates straight on my calendar. Here are some of the memories I captured from this past week (minus any of their sweet faces of course!).
Here I am with Zeus @ my class' Ancient Greek Olympics! 

One of the ancient civilizations I taught my students about this year was Ancient Greece, and one of the facts they are expected to remember is that the Ancient Greeks started the Olympic games. What better way for them to remember this than for them to compete in their very own Olympics? The week before the games I assigned team colors to each group and they each tie dyed a t-shirt to wear as a jersey throughout the games. Of course that also meant that I tie dyed a t-shirt using all of the colors, because I was the referee. I then conned my brother into dressing up as Zeus and leading the games with me. He literally walked around the entire time in 90 degree weather in a toga and it was hilarious. My students LOVED his outfit, and of course all of the games, and afterwards I even presented each of them with a "medal" while the Olympic theme song played in the back ground.
While one brother was dressed as Zeus, my other brother SURPRISED me by stopping by to meet my students! He brought one of his bulldogs, Big, and my students went crazy over both of them. They had been asking to meet the "other Mr. Robinson brother" all year and finally their wish came true!
I called the last 7 days of school the "7 Days of Favorites". We brainstormed then voted on 7 "favorite things", one for each of the last 7 days of the school year. This is from favorite outfit day. Of course some of the boys wore head to toe sport gear :).
Another favorite day was favorite book day. I had each of them bring in a pillow and blanket too, and the surprise was that I let them build a huge fort to read under. This is a picture I took with my phone of part of the fort. Believe it or not, 26 silent readers are underneath reading their favorite books!
They also chose to have favorite stuffed animal day, and here is who I brought in:). Curly's on the left, Bun Bun's on the right. My mom brought home Curly after visiting my brother at camp when I was 7 years old, and she bought Bun Bun the day she found out that she was having a girl (me). 
Here I am playing in the Teachers vs. 6th Graders Basketball and Volleyball games. All of my students signed the back of my t-shirt to give me good luck:).
After our assembly this morning I put shaving cream all over their desks so they could play around before we officially cleaned them. They had the best time making a mess and writing messages to me.


Last but certainly not least, I have to show you a present that one of my students gave to me. It might just be the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received. I don't know if you can tell, but the letters are formed out of legos! He loves legos and talked to me about them every day throughout the year. He wanted to make sure I knew that he made it all by himself :).

After the desks were clean and the yearbooks were signed, I ended our last day the only way that felt appropriate with this group: with a dance party. The playlist consisted of our favorites- the Cha Cha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, Who Let the Dogs Out, the Macarena, and YMCA. I looked around the room at 26 happy faces boogying their little hearts out, and felt content. I know in my heart that I gave them the very best year that I could have, and that this year is one that they will always remember. Here's to you, 3rd graders of 2010- I'll miss you a whole lot. 

6.23.2010

Time Stands Still with LOTS of gLuE!

Well, I am one day away from the end of the school year! I will greet my students tomorrow morning and spend 2 more hours with them before they officially turn into 4th graders (and I start crying). I have a lot to tell you about all of the great things we've done this past week, but I will save that for tomorrow when the school year is really over. For now I just want to tell you about the gifts I made for my students!

Yesterday my students had their end of the year showcase. My brother and I wrote a really funny play that they performed for their parents, and then their parents stayed for a big class breakfast. Before I invited everyone to fill a plate, I presented each one of my students with a personalized scrap book full of their published writings, and also of pictures I have taken of each one of them this year. Making each book was a daunting task, but the looks on their faces as they sat with their parents and looked through the books were priceless.

Here is the file box where I kept all of their published writing throughout the year. In my class, "published" means the writing has been drafted, edited, revised, typed, and mounted on colored paper. The hundreds and hundreds of pictures that I ordered arrived last week and I filed each picture in the student folder where it belonged. 
The next step was to cut down all of the writings and place them in the scrapbooks with the pictures. Here is what the floor looked like as I worked on one of the scrap books.

Like everything I do, I made this a family affair :).  Once I got everything placed just so in each book,  my family broke out the glue sticks. They were faithful gluers for literally hours on end, 3 days (and nights) in a row. 
SHOUT OUT: THANK YOU!
Here is the giant stack of finished scrap books! 26 in all, each complete with a letter from me on the inside cover!  
And as usual, my loyal sidekick sat beside for all of the sorting, cutting, organizing and gluing:).

As I passed out the scrap books yesterday I got a little choked up (and no it wasn't because I was finally finished making them). I was overwhelmed by the idea of the school year being over because my students are some of the greatest kids I have ever had the honor of teaching. So I made these books because I know that 20 years from now they'll still have them, and that when they look through them time will stand still. I know that they'll smile at all of our crazy adventures, and that is what made this all worth it. 

6.21.2010

*DAD*

Today and every day I am thankful to call this handsome guy my *dad*. I think he's wonderful and I am beyond lucky that he's mine.
"Fathers be good to your daughters.
Daughters will love like you do."

~Thank you for loving me and believing in me so much~

6.18.2010

**Kick Your Feet Up!**

Check out my new blog page by clicking on Kick Your Feet Up at the top of this page! I wanted to share some of my ideas for how I make my home the place I want to kick my feet up!   ENJOY!

6.16.2010

Bakers Dozen

It is official, and very big news- after 13 years together as just the 12 of us, the Dirty Dozen is inducting a new member into our pack. I know- you thought it would never happen. But don't worry- we didn't go out and make a new friend or anything crazy like that ;). The big, wonderful, incredible news is that the first member of the Dirty Dozen is pregnant with a baby girl. We will soon be changing our name to the Bakers Dozen.

For those of you who aren't sure, Yes we have been known for years as the D-12 because there are 12 of us, and Yes the group of rappers associated with Eminem did get their name from us.

Anyway, our friend Amanda surprised us in January with the big news, and this past weekend she came down to Virginia for her baby shower. I don't think I comprehended that she is actually pregnant until I saw her. But you can take my word for it- she really is pregnant!

3/4 of the dozen were able to make it into town for the weekend and we had such a great time. We got to laugh for hours on both Saturday and Sunday and celebrate Amanda becoming a mom!
Here's the Mom-to-Be opening her gifts! She is a kick ass swimmer, so we're thinking her daughter is destined for the pool.
Here we are with Amanda at the shower!

AP- We couldn't be more excited to meet her. xo

The Kenzster

In looking at my blog, I just realized that for some reason I don't have that many pictures of Kenzie on here! This is odd because 1. I am obsessed with her 2. I take pictures of her every 5 seconds and 3. She is always with me. So here she is!

This is the first time she ever played in the snow. 
She loves the beach and she does her 'crazy run' back and forth in the sand until she's covered in it.
Ugh she is so soft and snuggly!
This is one of those faces she makes when I swear she's pondering what I'm saying. Dog lovers you know what I'm talking about. HA!
Snowy play date
Here I am on my bike with her in my back pack. We were on our way to cheer on Chris in his football game.
She kind of hates the dog park but I make her go because I love it. She won't leave my side and growls at any dog who tries to get too close (which is every dog if you've ever been to the dog park). Only at a dog park will she not play with other dogs.
This is her sneeze face
The back leg cracks me right up.
I mean come on. She is ridiculously cute.
Worn Out.

6.15.2010

:)

Beautiful Night
Backyard
Homemade dinner
Veggies from the garden
Glass of Wine
Good Tunes
My Kenzie
My Chris
Happy

6.14.2010

TTAO #1


Our first TTAO adventure on the flying trapeze was a huge success! Maureen, Carrie Ann, Katie and and I did such a great job flying, and Maureen even tackled her fear of heights. It was awesome! Here's the video clip I made of us high in the sky!
P.S. Make sure to turn on your speakers :)

6.11.2010

TTAO!

My cousins and 2 of their friends formed a club called TAOS (inspired by another club called Dilettante) in which once a month the 4 of them get together and Try Anything Once, Sista. I liked the idea of the club so much that my friends and I decided to create our own club, Together Try Anything Once! Each month, one of the members of our club will plan an activity for the group which most or all of us have never attempted before. Each activity is analyzed based on a set of criteria that I lovingly stole from my cousins.

Selection criteria for activities:
-All activities are one-time events that run for a period of no more than five hours
-All activities have a registration fee of $100 or less
-All activities must be active so that participants learn something new.
-All activities must end with a de-brief and recap over drinks and food.

We have decided to be a member of the group with the following in mind:
-I will try anything once
-I will remain open-minded when trying a new activity
-I will be respectful of the activity, the activity leader and other participants
-I will approach every activity as the learning opportunity that it is
-I will not shy away from any activity no matter how potentially humiliating or painful (but hopefully none will be painful!)

I love the idea of this group because I LOVE trying new things. You can probably tell from my Lifelist that I am up for any sort of adventure, big or small, and I literally like doing anything active. And to try new things with friends will be even better!

Our first club meeting is this Sunday morning. I was in charge of planning the first outing, and I chose to have us take a flying trapeze lesson! Though I have done this twice before, it is equally terrifying every time I go, and on Sunday I will be attempting to learn a new "release" move. I am so excited for my friends to get hooked on it like I am. Stay tuned for stories and pictures from our first TTAO adventure!

6.09.2010

Classroom = Dance Floor

Every day this week I have taken it upon myself to end the school day with a 10 minute dance party in my classroom.

One day during SOL review, my students had been working so hard for so long that I literally told everyone to stop working, stand up, and do the Cupid Shuffle. I learned 2 things that day: that my students LOVE to dance more than any kids I've ever seen, and that watching them dance is  HILARIOUS. I mean, please imagine me teaching the Cupid Shuffle to 26 8-year olds and them giving me their absolute best dance moves all over my classroom at the exact same time. 

Cut to today when my oldest brother was visiting me at work and I turned up the tunes. Today's playlist included the Cupid Shuffle, the Cha Cha Slide, and wait for it... Who Let the Dogs Out. For 10 full minutes, Jason, my students and I might as well have been professional back up dancers, and I was laughing so hard I could hardly stand. 

I plan to end every school day like this until the school year ends. If you want in (and I'm telling you right now you do) stop by room @ 3:45:).

Mission (Im)Possible!

Here I am on the roof of my school yesterday! I challenged my students to participate in the Mission
(Im)Possible Egg Drop Contest and yesterday was their moment of truth. We talked about potential and kinetic energy and I gave them one week to create a container that would protect a raw egg when dropped from the roof of our building. They were not allowed to soak the egg in vinegar or alter the egg in any way. Though they are only 9 years old, 2/3 of my students designed containers that protected their egg! They built everything from parachutes to straw houses, balloon balls to felt beds. One girl even literally bedazzled the rocket ship that she made, as if its sparkly surface would somehow be more protective. It was hysterical.

I was so proud of them for coming up with such ingenius ideas, and the look on the faces of my students whose eggs survived was just priceless!

Ginger

Two weeks ago our family friend Ginger lost her battle with brain cancer. She was a daughter, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, an aunt, a wife, and a friend. She was a wonderful person and she put up one heck of a fight. 

When we walked out of her funeral last Tuesday, there were at least 10 fire trucks lining the road. I thought for a second that there was a fire across the street, but as we got closer we saw firemen and women in uniform, standing at attention. Her husband Jim is a retired firefighter and they had come to pay their respects to him and his family. I had never seen anything like that before and it really took my breath away.

6.06.2010

The 3 B's and an OMG

Baltimore, MD 6.4.10-6.6.10
Nights 29-30

I spent this weekend in Baltimore for my best friend's little sister's bachelorette party. I had a total blast except for one slight mishap, but I will tell you about all of the fun we had first.

Baltimore, Becca, Bachelorette!
Here I am with Kate. She did such a great job planning her sister's big weekend. On Friday night we had a big girls night out on the town, and on Saturday night she threw a party at her house and her uncle's band played a concert there!
 Here's the Bride to Be with her dad, Mike! He played beer pong for the first time on Saturday night and it was quite the spectacle. He yelled with excitement every time someone sunk a shot, even if the person was on the other team. He's a natural!
Here we are listening to the band play on Saturday night at Katie's house. They were so great, and Katie and Becca even got on the mic!
Chris came up for the night on Saturday to boogie down with me. Please take notice of my normal looking face, because this is what I looked like before I went to bed.
AND THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE WHEN I WOKE UP.

Here in lies the ridiculousness that is the
OMG Eye Cream Debacle. Get ready for this one.

Yesterday I took 2 showers, one in the morning and one before we got ready for the night. After both of them, I used Katie's Bobbi Brown eye cream. It was sitting next to her sink with her face moisturizer, and though I don't regularly use Bobbi Brown eye cream, I do use and trust all of her other face lotions. But after sloshing it on twice, I thought to myself This feels like sand. Why would Bobbi Brown make eye cream that feels like sand? All night long my eyes stung a little bit, but I thought it was just because I was tired. I washed my face before I went to bed and did not use the sandy eye cream this time.

Cut to 9:00 this morning when I awoke and tried to open my eyes. They were so puffy that they were almost swollen shut and I could tell without looking in the mirror that something was very wrong. I immediately and frantically woke up Katie and told her to look at my face because I thought I had had an allergic reaction to the Bobbi Brown eye cream. As her eyes widened and she connected the dots, she broke the news that the eye cream container was actually full of VERY STRONG PRESCRIPTION ACNE MEDICATION. This means that not once but twice yesterday I had generously rubbed acne medication ALL. OVER. MY. EYES. 

I mean really.

After icing my eyes for an hour and a half, I now look only 2/3 alien, and Chris and Katie (bless their hearts) have done a really good job of telling me that it's looking "a lot better than earlier". But considering "earlier" I looked like I had gotten attacked by a rabid fox, "a lot better" is still somewhere between poison ivy break out and punched in the face

On the bright side, I dare say I will not be breaking out with a case of eye acne any time soon.

Despite ending the trip looking like I was visiting from another planet, the whole weekend was so much fun and I am counting down the days until I start packing for Becca's wedding. One thing I'll make sure is in my suitcase?  My own eye cream:) .
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