Friday, September 26, 2008

Work, Work, Work

So, this was interim week at school, which means that it is halfway through the first nine weeks. I can't believe how quickly it is going. I guess it probably helps that we didn't attend school for almost a full week! This week went so quickly. It was our first full week of the year; we had one other full day week, but we had a late arrival day in there. I am feeling like I have a better hold on school stuff now. I still stress over stuff - is this IEP right? am I getting to my students enough? are the kids understanding anything I am teaching? I don't know if the answer is yes to all of those, but I don't feel as frazzled as I did for the past 4 weeks. I had my first IEP meeting today. The parents were great - chatty, but great. They are very supportive and genuine in their questions and concerns. It went well. I enjoy - more times than not - meeting and talking with the parents. I guess this is a good thing. We have parent teacher conferences this coming week. I have 2 IEPs and 2 parent conferences; this will be the busiest parent teacher conference of my last two years for sure! We played Jeopardy in my classes today for review. It went really well; the kids work so hard getting their brains wrapped around this science information. We'll see how the test goes on Monday.

Jeremy has had an exciting week. On Wednesday, his work life began. First, he had training for the YMCA latch key program both in the morning and afternoon. Then, his mom and dad came in the evening for dinner and work talk. Jeremy is also doing some part-time work for his dad's business, The Shepherd's Guide. Then, Thursday he officially started with kids at the before/after school program. He was there in the morning from 7 - 8:45 and at a different elementary in the afternoon from 3 - 6:15. In between, he met with Nick (the youth pastor at our church). Jeremy is again helping with youth group. At the Sunday morning youth group time, The Awakening, he is going to have a segment called "The Yoh Show". It should be a lot of fun. Because of this, Jeremy is going to meet with Nick on Thursdays. Today, he had the before and after school times again. I think the K-5 age group has the potential to really wear him out! He has some good stories and likes to tell me how cute I would think the kids are - I think he thinks they are cute, too! He plays the game Stratego in the morning and tether ball in the afternoon. Tetherball even earned him an injury on Thursday! :) Tonight, Jeremy is working the Saving Jane concert - a free concert to welcome the OSU students to school. He will be gone until late tonight. Tomorrow, he is working security for the OSU football game. Oh, yeah, his online classes through Columbus State started this week also! Whew, it makes me exhausted just typing it. I am very proud of the work he is doing and how he is juggling his time.

Well, that's it. I have no big plans for this weekend, except making a sample poster for the Element Family Project my students will do next week. I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Concert of a Lifetime

(Okay, there is some sarcasm in that title, but not much, and this is a good story - I think.)

Monday, I had a pretty good day at school. Nothing too exciting, just school. I came home to no electricity and a pot roast trying to cook in the crock pot (thanks for the help, Jeremy). I just put on my walking clothes and left hoping for the best. By the time I got back (45 min later!), the power had been restored. We were able to eat the pot roast for supper after turning it on high for a few hours. Thank goodness! Around 6:45pm, I decided to go to the library and find some good books; for some reason, I have been picking uninteresting books recently and was in desparate need of a new one. I stopped first to fill up my tank with gas at a local gas station. Two things happened here...

1) Jeremy and I decided to use cash to pay for gas and hopefully control our spending a bit. This was my first time pre-paying with cash ever - in my whole life! So, I walk in and asked the cashier how I this really worked, "Do I just give you money and then if it is too much, I get change back?" He was, I am sure, thinking, How did this lady get her license? The guy behind me in line starting laughing and said, "No it's just a tip for the station." Anyway, I gave him some money and returned to pump my gas. (I did go in and get my change by the way... it's not really a tip, if some of you are wondering.)

2) When I returned to the pump, a lady leaned out of her car window and randomly asked me, "Do you like Celine Dion?" I was like, "Um, yeah, she's okay." I learned the lady had won tickets at work and was unable to use them for the concert that night at 8pm. She asked if I wanted them. I said I could take them and call around and see if any of my friends wanted them. I was unable to get ahold of only a few people, and they were either uninterested or unable to go. When I finally got ahold of Jeremy (out of cell phone hearing), he said the cable was out and we had nothing else to do. Adding, that he had dragged me to a good number of concerts with him, and he probably owed me one if I wanted to go. He did have a point that there was nothing to do. (We are on a tight entertainment budget right now, so there is always a desire to go do something fun.) So, the curiousity and boredom won out over my meticulous need to always plan ahead, and we jumped in the car and headed to Value City Arena.

The highway was backed up as we approached the exit - for a Celine Dion concert... and arriving late! We parked in the middle of nowhere, walked at least 1/2 mi (if not farther), and entered the arena about 45 minutes late. As we entered, a woman looked at our tickets and exchanged our nosebleed seats for seats on the first level in row Q - center stage! Even if you do not love a performer, it becomes more exciting when you get to sit close! I would post a picture so you could see how close we were, but my cell phone pictures mostly just show a really bright spotlight. It was, I will admit, a much better concert than either Jeremy or I expected - not nearly as much cheese as one might expect. She had a great light, dance, stage show. I was completely entertained until 10:50pm when the concert finally ended. I did not get to bed til midnight and ran on only 5-1/2 hours of sleep today. But I will say that it was definitely worth every penny!!!! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend

This weekend was not that exciting, but it was relaxing. On Friday night, Jeremy and I hung out. We played the game Qwitch, which we received as a wedding gift and are just now playing (thanks, Rach!). It was a lot of fun. I think I lost all three games. We also watched The Conscientous Objector, a movie Jeremy checked out at the library. It was about a Seven Day Adventist during WWII who wanted to be a medic, but refused to carry a gun. It was a little slow because it was a documentary, but the story of his courage and his decision to stick with his beliefs was neat to watch. He received a medal of honor from the US Army for his work in the army as a medic.

On Saturday, Jeremy woke up before me to go work at the Buckeye football game as security. He worked one of the gates and then manned the locker room in the fourth quarter. While he was gone, I worked on lesson plans for two weeks from now - never hurts to get ahead! I also entertained our eight year old neighbor kid who rang the door bell and invited himself in. We had a serious dicscussion about Santa, and how when you get older sometimes you get fewer gifts, and sometimes Santa knows what's good for you and what's not. He agreed with that last one because last Christmas he didn't get the violent video game he wanted. When Jeremy came back, our neighbor, Julian, came back again to hang out before supper. After supper, Jeremy and I had another game night (I guess that what you do when you are on a limited budget). We opened another wedding gift and played Scene It. Jeremy, once again, beat me.

Today, has been quite relaxing as well. We went to church and helped with the youth group's worship time, The Awakening. I took an hour and half nap. We went grocery shopping. Jeremy made a guess (jokingly) that our grocery bill would be $56.29 this week. Shockingly, it was $56.27! Unbelievable! That was our big joke of the day - it doesn't take much. I called my mom and talked til my cell phone battery died. It was good catching up with her. She had been having some back problems and is finally feeling better. Dad is improving too. It is fun to hear the updates on all my neices and nephews from her as well. Well, we are wrapping up our day by watching our 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th ...??? football game of the day - Packers vs Cowboys. I'll make it til about 10pm, and then I'm off to bed.

At church we are in the midst of a series called Jesus for President; we are learning about the traits of a good leader based on the example of Christ. Last week we learned that a good leader has an outside source of strength - God, and is strengthed through prayer. This week at church we talked about how we should do what's right no matter what. A good leader should be a person of character and comptency. It is a good challenge for me - am I being a good leader? is my character consistent, even when no one is watching? Hope everyone has a great week - be a leader based on Christ's example.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hi, Sandy.

This blog will not be too exciting. I promised Sandy I would blog a bit so that she had something to read. Reynoldsburg City Schools were all in session today - except the high school.... so, I have officially one calamity day left for the winter weather. Hopefully, we will be back to school tomorrow, so we don't use them all! Talk about a short week :) I really haven't done anything too exciting. Jeremy and I went and took the written driving test so that we could get an Ohio driver's license. We both passed and took beautiful pictures, of course. I have talked to my dad every day this week to let him know I don't have school, get his Sam's card number so I can order a new pocket chart for school on line, ask how mom's back is doing, and just chat. I don't know what he'll do when I can't call him every morning around 10:30. Jeremy keeps working on resumes and job searches. He has an interview with the YMCA for part-time work at their before/after school program tomorrow. I am sure it will go great. We'll see what days he may work. I really think that's it. I hope everyone is having a great week. Until later...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Snow day????

Just kidding, we have no snow here. We did - as I noted on Sunday - have lots of wind.... from the looks/sounds of it, so did a lot of people. (The Bengals vs Titans game on Sunday was a joke, by the way. Jeremy says it is part of the reason he lost his Fantasy Football this week...) We lost power on Sunday around 5:30pm. We kept the fridge and freezer shut to try and save all our food. We wore our headlamps - which my dad thinks is hilarious! - around the house instead of carrying a flashlight. It would be a great investment for power outages - your hands are free to carry things, read a book, or brush teeth. It is fantastic! On Monday, I had no school; I got the call at 6am and crawled back in bed. Jeremy and I worked at cleaning up branches and pine needles. One benefit of a small yard is there is less yard to care for. This is one of our neighbors standing next to a large tree that fell just next to their home; you can see how close it came to the sidewalk on the left of the picture. Yikes! Then, we decided to go to the Westerville Library, which for some reason had power restored. So, we hopped on our bikes to avoid the downed traffic lights and pedeled our way on the bike trail. The trail was slow going as it was covered with downed trees, branches, and general debris. We made it though and were able to get our exercise in. We chilled in the library for awhile before heading home. When we arrived home, our electric had been restored - yea! That was sometime around 4:00pm on Monday. We relaxed with lights, ate meatloaf prepared in the oven, and caught up on computer stuff. I received a call at about 8:30pm that Reynoldsburg was cancelled on Tuesday too! This is one of the first times in my life I have wanted to go to school. It is a shame to waste snow days so early; hopefully, it will be a mild winter.

Today (Tuesday), Jeremy and I went for a run in the morning - after I slept in, of course. Then, I showered and headed to school. I wanted to get a headstart on planning for next week. I was there from 11 - 2:30pm. It was a great time to just sit, focus, and learn about chemical bonds, chemical reactions, and how to balance an equation. I have sketched out the next 4 weeks or so, which should help with planning. What a gift it was to have time to do this! The school had some power restored, but still no phones and they were still working on getting the fire siren to work in case of emergency. I have no word about tomorrow, but I am really hoping to be back in session. There are (as of 6am today) still 242,000 people out of power in Franklin County. We'll see what happens. Jeremy and I are headed to small group soon. I hope everyone has a good week. Please continue to be safe driving on roads still possibly littered with debris.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another week

Man, it is windy! I am thankful that tree trunks have the ability to sway in the wind; if not, our home would be destroyed. I can't believe this wind! I think it rivals many of our windy days in the Valley of Colorado.

This week, I did a horrible job blogging. I am trying to get in a rhythm at work and at home, and it is taking quite awhile. School is going well. I am enjoying the opportunity to challenge my students and see how far I can push them. I personally think they enjoy the challenge. But I am having a hard time getting to all my LD kids that are just doing their thing in the regular classrooms. They aren't in the habit of finding me on their meeting day, so I spend half of my period running around the building to find them. I have taken to wearing tennis shoes, regardless of what they look like with my outfit. I have been staying late on Friday (til about 7pm) to plan for the upcoming week. Ideally, I want to have the week planned, copies made, last week's homework graded and posted in the grade book online. For the first two weeks, this worked. I was defeated this week, and still have things to do. So, my new goal is to plan one day for the upcoming week each day in planning. For example, on Monday, I plan for the next Monday, and Tuesday, I plan for the next Tuesday. I don't know if this will work, but it sure sounds good.

Then, at home, I am trying to get everything else to balance - social life, marriage, chores, sleep/relaxation, exercise. We had Brent (one of Jeremy's previous roommates) over for supper Wednesday. This was a lot of fun to finally be able to connect with him; we had not seen him since returning. On Thursday, Jeremy turned one year older. We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We had only eaten out one other time since returning from Colorado because there had been no money coming in. This week I was paid for the first time in a year! Boy, does a paycheck feel good. I am doing pretty good getting enough sleep. Jeremy really helps to get work around the house done. On Friday, I was so thankful that he was able to wash the bedding for his mom and aunt who were staying the night at our house. I am still working on exercise. I went for a long run on Monday, a short walk on Wednesday, and played 2 hours of sand volleyball on Saturday - better than some weeks.

Well, I am sure that this is pretty boring to most of you... except maybe my parents and in-laws. I'll try to give you some better stories next week - and maybe more often. This week in church we were reminded that Jesus found his source of strength in God. He often went off to lonely places to pray. Take time (and this is definitely a reminder to myself!) to be alone and pray - both speak and listen. God loves us. Let us return His love with authentic time in conversation each day. Have a great start to your week!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Long Time

So, Ohio information is not as exciting to write about as Colorado life. Probably because this feels "normal" and Colorado was different, exciting, and picturesque (sp?). But life here is good, too. Today, I passed out progress reports updating the students on their grades and my science class - and they cared if they were good or bad! One student had a 83%, a B. He asked, "Is this good?" I said, "Yes, that's very good for you." He was very excited, saying he was going tell everyone he knew! Yea :) So, that's fun to see.

Jeremy is out enjoying the Wayne County Fair, after helping his dad fold and stuff 500 envelopes for the Shepherds Guide. Hard work and then play makes for a great day. I was here this evening alone. I sat on the couch for awhile after school before motivating myself to get off the couch and go for a walk. I talked to a lady down the street for almost a half hour before finally hitting the pavement. I walked (19 min) and ran (24 min) to Easton and back (about 3 or so miles). I was very proud of myself because it is longer than I have made it running in a long time. Then, I had a nice hour long conversation with the computer repair man - Fred - while he worked his magic on the desktop computer I've had for 7 years. He was a really nice man that knows a lot, but I don't think our computer is very fixable - 2 Trojan viruses! (for some of you this may mean more than it does to me) He went home after an hour to help his wife out with their 5 year old and a very cranky 17 month old. He will come back tomorrow to help restore the computer. UGH, technology!

This has been a good Monday for me, hopefully for all of you as well. I am looking forward to a week of Good Days. That's my new thing this year - keeping a journal of good things from each day. I titled the journal "Today was a Good Day." This way I leave school on a positive note. It may give you the boost you need to. God loves you all! Until later...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I wish I were in Colorado

Yes, I am longing for Colorado. No offense to everyone in Ohio - it's not you, it's me. I love, love, love the dry climate of the San Luis Valley. I also thought the cool nights were incredible. I liked that I could wake up at 6:30am and go to the gym to work out when I still had energy. I enjoyed that others cooked meals for me, and I only had to really cook one day a week. And last, but not least, the lack of planning required to volunteer with La Puente Home was super nice.

That being said, I don't hate it here. I am having a good year to be honest. It is exhausting though. I get home from school and buzzing around the school building all day - literally. I think that I sit down 1st period during my planning period if I'm lucky, and at lunch 6th period. So, by the time I return home, I do not want to walk more - especially in the heat and humidity. I will get motivated at some point and decide to do something physical. Keep that in your prayers though - although it seems minor, it is important to me to feel like I am doing something to stay physically healthy.

My class with the ED (behavior) kids have been great the last two days. They did an amazing job matching definition cards to the vocabulary word. I couldn't believe how focused they were. Nor could I ask for anything more as I explained the history of the atom using the felt board Jeremy made for me. It was good. I think laughing and joking around in a safe environment does wonders for kids (and adults!). I hope everyone is having a great week. Enjoy the Friday God has given you by being a blessing to those you interact with.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

On Friday, I stayed at school until 6:30pm to get things ready for next week. Hopefully, this will lead to a less stressful, more enjoyable, less tiring week of school.

Sandy and her sister - TRACY - came to visit me this Saturday. (I need to highlight Tracy because I failed to mention her name in the previous blog and was told I would be beat up if I didn't give her credit for being someone more than "my friend's sister".) It was a lot of fun to see them; I hadn't seen Sandy since Christmas. We went to eat at Cuisine of India in the Polaris area. It was a delicious buffet where we all ate too much! We came back to my house to just relax. Mike and Jeremy went on a really long bike ride, so we had the house to ourselves. Sandy helped me decide where to put a few pictures, which Jeremy and I will hang later. Then, Sandy painted my toenails and Tracy (and her own) fingernails. (See picture of the toes and fingernails!) So much girly stuff in one afternoon...

On Sunday, Jeremy and I went to early service at church. Then, headed to Wayne County for the big Bricker Reunion. There were about 50+ people that attended which was a good surprise for everyone, I think. Then, in the evening, we went to my parents' house for night. It was good to see them. Dad is doing much better. He looks better and seems to be moving around more. He is still a slow mover, but at least he is up and moving!

On Monday, Mom and I went for a walk. I always enjoy walking with my mom because it gives us time to talk without any distractions. I also needed to walk after the big potluck at the reunion! Then, the rest of my family came over with a last minute invitation for lunch. I didn't expect that, but it was a good surprise. It is a crazy, crazy place with everyone there. I don't think there is any down time at all! But the kids are so darn cute. When we returned to Columbus, Jeremy started working on his homework assignment from me - a felt atom that we could add the nucleus, protons, neutron, and electrons to. It will be amazing and hopefully help my kids "get it". (This is Jeremy perfecting the feltboard.) Now, I am blogging and waiting for the new One Tree Hill. This was a show Sandy and I got hooked on during its first season. In reality it is a pretty cheesy show, but we indulge. I missed it all last year, so I will probably be a bit confused this season. Hope everyone has a great four day week.