August 22, 2014

Hey, welcome to 2012

Sweater: LOFT // Dress:  T.J. Maxx

I've been planning on buying a maxi skirt or dress since 2012.  Really, I have.  The stipulations were "not cost more than $20" and "not look frumpy".  I couldn't find one, but maybe I didn't look all that hard. A few weeks ago I came across this maxi dress at T.J. Maxx.  I would've gone for navy blue, but they didn't have it in my size.  I grabbed this black and white one and it was kind of tight at first but loosened up throughout the day.  Also, I threw this sweater over it because I figured a body-con-on-top maxi dress wasn't appropriate for school.  However, I know maxi dresses/skirts are appropriate for school because I've watched every teacher but me wear them at my school in Missouri and the same here too….and no wonder:  This was the most comfortable thing I've ever worn.  It was only $19.99 so I might go back and comb the racks for another.  Maybe in blue or green?

I've gotten a few questions about Skirtember.  Remember Skirtember?  Last year was a failure for me because I didn't have as many skirts as I thought I did.  Dresses are so easy for work here though, so I've consciously been buying more over the last few months.  However, there is no Skirtember in the works at this time.  

In a funny coincidence though, I realized I've worn a skirt or dress every day this week.  It's still hot, so pants are quite out of the question. Tomorrow is jeans day though.  Wearing jeans gives me a headache.    

August 21, 2014

Stuff and Things 8/21

*First, I've been getting a lot of no-reply blogger comments lately, and it makes me sad because some of them are questions and I can't answer.  However, I've been subpar at best when it comes to replying to comments lately, so this obviously isn't an excuse.  But please check anyway!*

Dress: Gap // Sweater and sandals: Target

I make it a point to not drink soda.  It's empty calories and carbonation isn't good for anyone's stomach. However, I've probably had 3 Pepsis and a Coke in the last 2 weeks.  The Coke was because they didn't serve Pepsi.  Something about going back to work always pushes me to needing a fizzy, sugary pick-me-up and I haven't been craving coffee at all lately.  However, I DO draw the line at diet soda.  Never.

We ordered a cooktop and a farm sink.  When they'll be installed and functional, I cannot say.  But they will be sitting in the basement by next week.  Life is hard, I guess.

We have a plan for where they will go and the process of how to get them there (along with that double oven that is still in the basement) but it can't happen when Scott is working 70 hour weeks.  

Are you watching The Leftovers?  Thoughts?  I don't even know where to start, so I'd like you to go first.

I don't understand this ice bucket stuff.  Oh, sorry.  #icebucket stuff.  
I mean, incurable diseases are terrible.  And you can argue with me here, but am I understanding this correctly?  Someone challenges you to donate to a charity.  If you don't want to donate, you pour a bucket of ice over your head instead?  I get that those videos everywhere are raising awareness, but…  I mean, Scott and I donate to charity, but if the point is awareness and raising money…why are you pouring ice over your head instead of giving to charity?  Can anyone clear this up for me?  Here's a Slate article I read.

When you realize your dog is the problem, it's depressing.  Jett is in need of a live-in nanny.  I can't deal with him anymore.

They sit there and "Hmph" at me when it's past 5:00pm and they haven't been fed.  (And notice the floors…plural.  Sigh.)  Anyway, Jett is the Jason Stackhouse of dogs.  Pretty and kinda dumb.  Either he's super smart and pretends he can't hear you or he's truly that out of it.  

Only one more episode of True Blood.  I don't know how I feel about that.

We did all kinds of stuff in Denver last weekend and I haven't told you about any of it because I've barely looked through the pictures.  I've been kinda laying low on social media lately, which is why I didn't Instagram anything.  I've felt very much in my own little world for the last few weeks.  I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe we don't need Twitter to turn the world 'round, after all.  What do you think?

Denver Botanical Gardens

August 19, 2014

4:30am wake-up call

It was windy and my feet are being weird.  Sorry.
Dress: Gap // Shoes: Famous Footwear

Last week I got up at 4:38am everyday.  You see, since our friends were using Scott's truck to see Colorado Springs, I had to drop Scott off at PT everyday before I went to school.  Monday through Wednesday was just training for me and Thursday and Friday started the school year.

My alarm went off.  I fed the dogs, took them out, got myself reasonably ready and packed all my bags.   I generously let Scott sleep until 5:00 each day because I can't get ready with someone else in the way.  I'm pretty selfish in the wee hours.

The goal was: out of the house by 5:30am, hopefully didn't hit traffic, on base by 6:05, drop Scott off, at the gym by 6:20.  Work out for about 30-40 minutes, shower/change/hair, make-up if time (if not, that's what the parking lot is for).  Sometimes I'd stop for green tea on my way to school.  I wasn't craving coffee for some reason.

Anyway, this is my point:  I felt more "together" last week than I do this week (and it's only Monday night as I'm typing this).  Not having the time to twiddle away in the morning actually kind of agrees with me.  Today (again, Monday) I felt terribly disorganized all day and it's because I didn't force myself to pack three bags and just get things done.

I think that today (Tuesday) I'm going to revert to last week's schedule.  Is that completely crazy?

August 18, 2014

5 years. 4 classrooms. 3 states.

This month, I've embarked on setting up my 4th classroom.  It's my 3rd state in the last 5 years.  As an aspiring teacher, I never dreamed I'd only get to teach for a few years at a time, but that's military life for you. And, as a new army wife, back in 2009, I never dreamed I'd get to take my career this far.  To be honest, when we moved to Alaska, I worked on getting a job, but I never imagined that I'd really be able to keep teaching.  I'm lucky, very lucky and I know it.

I'm starting my 5th year of teaching and I consider it to be nothing short of miraculous.  5 consecutive years.  For most teachers, that's not a big deal.  However, this is my 4th classroom and my 3rd state.  And I've challenged Scott to find another army wife who has taught for 5 consecutive years whilst PCSing her way across the country (He doesn't know how lucky he is, right?  I've paid for half our hunting gear, I'm sure.)

I graduated from Penn State in May 2008.  I couldn't find a job.  I searched high and low.  I went on interviews.  I saved my rejection letters for posterity.  In August 2008, I met Scott.  I subbed in the local elementary school to make money.  Scott and I got engaged in February 2009 and married in May.  We moved to Alaska in September.  Before we moved, I'd had a phone interview with the Anchorage School District.  To say it was "awful" doesn't even begin to cover it.  Needless to say, they blacklisted me.  Still, that first year in Alaska, I subbed in Anchorage to get my foot back in the door (a fruitless effort).  That spring, I tried a different district north of Anchorage.  They hired me.  I worked there for 3 years and most of it was absolutely blissful.  Beautiful school, great kids…I wish I'd been able to take it with me.  But, the army called.

Last year, I was lucky enough to fall into a teaching position in Missouri at the 11th hour.  School started in August.  I started September 9th.  Honestly, I never had a chance, but I did what I could.  It was probably the best learning experience of my life.  I felt like someone had opened up my brain and poured in knowledge.  Standards, objectives, data, teaching techniques, interactive notebooks, new Smartboard tricks, Cornell Notes, Class Dojo…and so much more I didn't have the chance to get to because it was time to move again.  However, I learned how business was done efficiently in a big school and my principals and co-workers were quite the role models.

In May, I accepted a position in Colorado Springs and as I was hanging up the phone that evening, Scott said, "HOW do you DO this?" Like I said, he doesn't know how lucky he is.

However, he wasn't there when I had rejection after rejection in the summer of 2008.  He was there when Anchorage sent me rejection after rejection during the 2009-2010 school year.  He was there when my position was in danger of being cut after the 2010-2011 school year.  He was there when I couldn't find anything in Missouri last summer.

The point is:  I worked really hard to get here.  It has nothing to do with how hard teachers work.  It has to do with the effort that goes into finding a new job.  With the classes I've had to take to keep up certifications and the hundreds of hours of professional development and the hundreds of relationships I've been able to achieve.  In so many ways, the Army has actually HELPED my career.  How many army wives can say that?

*This is not a "should I work/should I not work" argument.  Lots of military wives don't work by choice, but lots maintain careers too.  It's a personal choice.*

So, anyway…

As I sat through my week-long orientation, I definitely felt overwhelmed and I certainly felt like, "Eh, I can do this.  I've done it before, right?"  Kids are kids everywhere and so I was excited just to dive in.

The biggest difference is that I was always part of a 5 or 6 teacher grade-level team in Alaska.  In Missouri, I was on a 15 teacher grade-level team (or maybe it was 14…when the numbers get too big, it becomes hard to keep track).  Here, it's just me and one other teacher and we're both new to the district, so it will make for an interesting year and a lot more effort.  I'm used to the veteran staff telling me what to do.

This post should also probably serve as a disclaimer of sorts.  If I'm a bit AWOL, the new school year at a new school would be the reason why.

If you want to take a look back…
My first Alaska classroom
My second Alaska classroom (I traded up)
My Missouri classroom

August 14, 2014

Stuff and Things 8/14

+I went on a good, old-fashioned Target run last weekend.  I haven't done one of those in awhile.

+Fascinating fact:  I went to a training the other day and found that one of the teachers in my building also taught at my school in Missouri.  You see, I taught for Waynesville (Go Tigers!) so I'm conditioned to spot orange and black from a mile away.  She had a Waynesville jacket on and I definitely did a double take.  What a coincidence right?  She was there 2 years before me, though.

+If I haven't been commenting on blogs or answering comments, I'm sorry.  I want to.  Everyone knows there's nothing I like better than a cup of coffee, the Today Show, and my computer.  However, the first week of school is not conducive to blogging. Especially when you have guests staying from out of town and a sick puppy.  Sometimes life happens and blogging falls by the wayside, am I right?

+Speaking of guests, they've been cooking for us.  Which is pretty amazing because, during the first week of school, I'm usually running on pure adrenaline.  And Starbucks.

Monday's dinner: eggplant parmesan and homemade sauce

+Also, dinner for me on Tuesday night was a piece of garlic bread and a bowl of Kashi while writing out the name tags I didn't have the time to take care of during the day on Tuesday.

+I think I put my makeup on in the car everyday this week (obviously while parked in a parking lot).

+This is a terrific time to bring up the fact that I've been using Rodan and Fields Unblemish skincare regimen for the last 6 weeks and I've seen a 180 degree difference in my skin.  Full review to come next week!  If you have problem skin, you NEED to read it.  (Also, ignore the wonky sun effects in that unfiltered, make-up free picture. I do not have a random spot on the tip of my chin or on my forehead.)

+Today is the first day of school.  Godspeed to us all. (If you think we're starting early, some districts around here started on August 7th!)