Highlights of the decade

Lots has happened since 2000. On this day ten years ago, I was sitting in a faluka (a type of boat) in the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, celebrating the year 2000 with my good friend and her family!

Since then, I:
  • went to college (and graduated!!)
  • got married
  • moved to California for two years
  • entered the workforce
  • moved to Michigan for two years
  • adopted three cats
  • went on a few European vacations (thanks, mom and dad!)
  • moved down south
  • bought our first house
  • adopted our first dog

The last four items happened in 2009 alone!! It's been a busy year, and a good year. And it's been a fantastic decade!

In the next decade, I'd like to check off a few more items from my Life List. Particularly number 11. What will you do?

This Christmas (Pop) ROCKS!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Was Santa generous this year? Were you able to spend time with friends and family (even if it was just over the phone)?

We've had a fun-filled day on the family farm. I got Pop Rocks in my stocking, because Santa remembered that I'm a child of the 80's and 90's and knows my tastebuds like to reminisce! And the Pop Rocks reminded me of my students.

I know, I know; I'm not supposed to be thinking about my students on Christmas break, but I just couldn't help myself! I was remembering the time that "Michael" was spending his fake-money-for-good-behavior at my classroom store. I had recently included some Pop Rocks I had gotten at the dollar store, and Michael asked me what they were. Child!! Do you not know the abject joy of Pop Rocks!? Buy them now because they will change your life!

So he did! And before I could stop him, he had opened the package and dumped THE ENTIRE CONTENTS into his mouth. And he closed his mouth over it all, then he opened his eyes as wide as saucers, and started to jump up and down with the Pop Rocks....

I hope you all (y'all!!) had a Pop Rockin' Christmas this year!

I said yes

Vacation is FINALLY here and after 23 hours of driving, we are FINALLY back in Michigan. Life is good. The house is all decked out for Christmas and I've been enjoying the warm fireplace. Barney thinks that the family farm is an amusement park specifically designed for him! He requested that we stay on vacation here forever.

Dr. Seuss would be proud! Or maybe confused.

Today, after reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", I had both classes write a letter to the Grinch to convince him that he should love Christmas instead of hate it.
Here's what my 4th and 5th graders came up with (spelling and language mistakes and all!):

Dear Grinch,
Why do you hate Christam? You should love Christam becuse you like to read book how about you don't keep childen prens't  For Chirstam. I want you to be happy.
Dear Grinch,
Did you like Christmas after you change your mind. I love Christmas when I was litte. I still like it right now. You should like Christmas because Christmas is about love with familys and friends. Grinch, Merry Christmas.
Dear Grinch,
You should like Christmas becas it is so butyfull. You should like cristmas becoues it is a famly thing. You suold lik cristmas becaus you get present. You should love Cristmas you have frend. You should love cristmas becaus you get wat you want.
(And my personal favorite):
Dear Grinch,
Grinch, Christmas is a hopefull holiday and helpful. It wants to let you know that its not about the presents it about the love and joy. It's not about steling Christmas its about enjoying Christmas. So just like Christmas not hate it. Stop hating it and continued with life.

Christmas Slacking

funny pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Only five days left until Christmas vacation!! Is anyone doing anything educational in their classrooms this week? Because my handwritten plans fit onto a post-it note (literally!). I'll break it down for you:

Monday: field trip
Tuesday: How the Grinch Stole Christmas with related activities
Wednesday: The Polar Express with related acitivities
Thursday: Santa's workshop (Christmas themed centers!)
Friday: Christmas party

Yep! Then it's off to Michigan to spend the holidays with family :)

Maybe I'll get another teacher aide!

"It is very SUPER cold."
That was a statement from one of my fourth graders this morning as we walked from the main building out to my portable. His assessment was quite accurate: 23 degrees this morning. In TEXAS! And it's hovered in the thirties for the past two weeks. Normally, I wouldn't really care too much about the temperature (unless we're talking about the possiblity of a snow day, then that's all I care about!). But for the past three weeks, the heat has been broken in my half of the portable (there are six classrooms in our portable and I was one of the two with no heat). Which means that I've been teaching with my coat and scarf on all day, every day. And I need the use of my hands to teach so I couldn't wear gloves and you can just imagine how five popsicles attached to a palm feel like.
Almost every day, my colleague next door and I would ask our janitor how the progress was going. He would always mumble something about how he had put in the work order and was waiting on the district people to come out. Well yesterday, my colleague had just HAD it and threatened that unless he did something she was going to call the superintendent!! There were three men out working on the problem by 8:30 that morning. By 3:00 that afternoon, the heat finally kicked on (OH BLESSED SOUND!!).
What I want to know is, what else can I get done around here by threatening to call the superintendent?

It gets cold down south too!

It's exciting that we finally live in the kind of place where neighbors bring over baked goods for no other reason than that they had extra. And offer to babysit your cats. And let you borrow their lawn equipment. And most the most recent perk? Christmas goodies! One set of neighbors dropped off a poinsettia plant and a delicious variety of homemade cookies all in Martha Stewart packaging!

Of course, this means we should reciprocate in kind. After scouring the internet for my favorite craft inspirations, I came up with this:

Peppermint cocoa mix and peppermint stirrers

And after a few hours shopping for ingredients and putting it all together, it came out like this:

Next up? Christmas activities with my students!!

Snow Show

It was cold this morning. As I dropped my parents off at the airport before school, my dad said it couldn't be THAT cold because he didn't feel cold (I was, though!!). Once I pulled up to the school and got inside, large white snowflakes were falling fast and furiously.
My fourth graders were waiting for me to pick them up in the auditorium. As they walked outside to get into our portable, they saw all that snow falling... One student said: "OH MY GOSH! It's got a lot of snowflakes out here!!" We settled into the classroom but all these Texas kids could think about was the snow outside--it was even sticking!!
So, being the good teacher that I am, I ditched my lesson plans, bundled up the kids and ran outside to go Experience the Snow. Everyone had a jolly ol' time romping around in the quarter inch of snow (a few other classes had come out as well) for about fifteen minutes... trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues, making snowballs without gloves, and wishing there was enough to make a snowman. Eventually, though, the kids realized they were cold and wet. One of my students said (all haunched over into his coat and wincing with the coldness of it all): "Let's get outta here". So we did.
Unfortunately, the heat in our side of the portable is broken so we didn't get the warmest welcome back inside. The kids made a big deal of blowing into their hands, drying off their faces, and declaring their hands too cold to hold a pencil.
Yeah, I'm too cold to do any work today either--let's all go home!! :)
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