Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Comeback Kid

So I realize it has been awhile since my last post...ok quite awhile.  Almost two months now.  Part of me is ashamed to admit that. However, when I thought more about it, I realized that my blog absence only means that life has been keeping me busy. And that is a good thing!

Near the end of April, my life started to get a bit hectic and I found myself adding "Write a Blog Post" to my never-ending "To Do" list.  After some thought and a lot of stress, I reassured myself that one of the reasons I started this blog was to keep myself busy- a sort of hobby.  If I was stressing about getting up the next new post, then it was not serving its purpose.  So I took a break- a long break. However, one reason I have been more busy is that I have been doing fun stuff with friends like Bunco, meeting with my nook club, and hosting fun BBQ's and parties on our back porch.

So now I will attempt to catch you up on my life over the past several weeks. I will be honest. Except for my dinner co-op meals, there has been very little cooking or prepping going in this household lately, since time was scarce. I hope to get back into that soon, and I am very excited to start making some fresh summery foods like fresh salads, guacamole, and fruit!

From the end of April through the end of May was a whirlwind.  Since I started at a new school in a new school district in a new state, everything is just a tad different than where I was before, and the end of the school year- especially in fifth grade- is no easy task.  The end of the year was filled with excitement- field trips to The Herbert Hoover Museum and Farm, Discovery Park, and the Muscatine Art Center, track and field competitions, field day, fifth grade graduation, spending hours upon hours creating an imovie slideshow, and writing an article for the local newspaper regarding fifth grade projects and curriculum-  all while trying to frantically finish up the curriculum- creatively.  Then there was "THE Talk", which I actually enjoy and get the biggest kick out of!  I know that sounds crazy, but after many years of being forced to discuss the birds and the bees with a bunch of adolescent, hormonal girls, you get used to it and make the best of it- slumber party style. It is fun to make them feel comfortable, and then say the words "vagina" and "penis" and allow them get all of their giggles out of the way before the dreaded video.  However, this year I ended up giving the boys the talk.  Don't ask me why... poor planning and a lack of males in our building perhaps?  It wasn't bad for me, but I really did feel sorry for them.  I think they just about died when I said the word "testicles", but that was no comparison to "ejaculation"...

In  addition all of my spare time for the past two months went into extensively planning a week-long technology course for teachers along with a co-worker.  We taught teachers how to use SMARTBoards in their classrooms and how to use the software to effectively create their own interactive lessons.  We are fortunate that almost all the elementary schools have saved up and bought these wonderful pieces of technology.  It has completely changed the way I teach in my classroom.  I can use it practically all day in some manner, and it allows students to get actively involved in a lesson. Unfortunately I do not think that the general public- or a lot of teachers for that matter- really understand what a SMARTBoard can do.  Check out these short videos in case you are a curious of just a snippet of how SMARTBoards can be used in the classroom:

Fortunately, the SMARTBoard class was a hit.  52 teachers took the class last week and over 30 have signed up for the August class so far! I have become pretty passionate about the use of technology in the classroom this year and am thinking that a future post will have to be dedicated to all the ways this can be done in the classroom, as I know I have grown leaps and bounds in this area this year. Just this year I have redesigned my teaching to include classroom blogs, used mobile labs for research and activities, had students use Google Apps/Docs on a regular basis to collaborate and present, as well as create Prezi's.  Inspiring! More to come... 

The following weekend, we were happy to attend the wedding of Sam's best friend, Lindsey, to Melanie!  Several months ago, Melanie must have recognized my OCD tendencies and knack for (over?) planning.  She asked me to help her out as her day of coordinator.  In the weeks leading up to the big day, I helped assemble programs and centerpieces.  Ultimately, last Sunday went off without a hitch! Although I had lots of help (thank goodness!), I was in charge of decorating, table settings, creating flowers in the centerpieces that day, arranging the set-up of the room, meeting and verifying accuracy with all the vendors, keeping wine bottles corked and beer flowing, cutting the cake, and clean up, all the while enjoying time with the bride and groom. It was much more exhausting than I ever imagined.  I don't know how those wedding planners do it!  It was fun to be able to help out friends, while gaining some experience.  It was very rewarding, and I received several compliments on how smooth everything ran. It was a beautiful wedding and a gorgeous day. I am very happy for Mr. and Mrs. Lorber! 

Then this past week I had my wisdom teeth removed!  Regrettably, my only two wisdom teeth (on top) decided to make a late appearance at the ripe age of 33.  I had them removed on Thursday.  I was a little apprehensive about it the day before, but all is well, as I have no issues at all!  No swelling, no icing, just a little Ibuprofin and soft foods the first day, and I was good to go!  I am now on my third day of recovery and still being cautious by eating softer foods, but all went better than expected! In fact, the doctor was able to get them out in less than five minutes- I was there for less than an hour total including time for the anesthesia to take effect and wear off.  

Due to the above, I have been glad to use the wisdom teeth extraction as an excuse to be a little lazy.  I have been avidly using my time to plan extensively for our upcoming trip to ITALY!  We have had this planned for about six months, but only had tickets and lodging booked.  Now, finally, all of the pieces are coming together, and I have a better idea of how this is all going to play out.  I am very excited, as this will be a first for us-neither of us have ever been overseas!  I will tell you all about our plans in an upcoming post, but it does include adventures to Venice, the Cinque Terre, Florence, Chianti, and then Rome. Good times!  

Well, now I mus go weed the garden.... 

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