Saturday, August 31, 2013

7 years? Really. That makes me super excited!

I follow a runner, mom of 12... really fast superwoman blog.  This week she posted about how most runners peak at 7 years of training.  
"Most runners race their best times and set their PR's seven years after they start (and continue) training consistently. Most runners, whatever their age or ability, will improve for about seven years."

So, I have to say, I am pumped!! Given that I've been running for a year now... I have at least 6 more years to improve and set PR's! I'm thinking really I can say that I'm just starting the 7 year zone given that I wasn't a runner at all until a year ago.

So how do I plan to use these next 6+ years? 

Well... I'm going to do what I do best.. plan, organize and race.

But not today. Today, I slept in and missed my long run with the group. I'll make it up either tomorrow or Monday morning with a middle distance run. I'm still at 85% and as Doug reminded me, I can keep pushing and stay at 85% or get a little more rest and let myself get over this icky bronchitis completely.

I have to say, if Erin can take off running for an injury and she is training for the Olympic Marathon trials and running a sub 3 hour marathon, I guess taking a little more time to get well won't hurt my "to finish my first marathon" goal!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Week of School 2013

One of my friends posted on facebook that there is NOTHING more exhausting that teaching the first week of school. I agreed with her. Some commented about harder things... but all of them had something to do with teaching and then doing something else. I have to say, I can't imagine adding anything else to my schedule right now. Even after 15 years, the first week of school is a KILLER!!

And I didn't rest this summer! It's a wild ride this Education business!

Anyway, we survived the first day. Everyone seemed to fair well.

Here are the pictures. It was weird taking first day of school pictures in a different place. I almost wanted to stop by the old house and take a picture by the big pine tree. But no time for that!

Maddie started 8th grade. Lexi is in 3rd grade and Kylie is officially a Pre-k kid.  

And there we are.

I'm thinking I need a Friday morning picture. I'm guessing we will be a little more bleary-eyed for that one!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Classroom Reveal 2013!

I am so excited about my room this year! All of you non-teachers out there should be thrilled to know that while I may have started teaching in 1997 and teach high schoolers, I still get pumped about the first day of school and creating a "theme" for my room each year!

This year, it's about birds and trees. I LOVE the trees on my very, very boring cinder block walls. I'm not allowed to paint, but contact paper is ok! So I made trees out of contact paper!!

You might also notice, if you have seen my room in previous years, that I have continued my efforts at decluttering and have moved a lot of the OLD and DUSTY books off the shelves and made room for more interesting items.

And there you have it. My art room! I'm looking forward to a great year!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kylie's 4th Birthday Bash

Kylie turned 4 this week and we celebrated at Splashville last weekend with a party.
(I love Splashville. I rent the pavillion for a nominal fee, I invite friends and pay for their entrance if they don't already have passes. Then I purchase the ice cream treat of each kid's choice at the concession stand. It is the perfect working mom's party place!!)

The weather was great and being the end of the summer and a Sunday to boot, there were not many people there. It was great!!

Ice Cream time!!!

 and presents!

Two of my three sisters and me.

I hope you enjoyed the photo dump!  I promise to do better next time!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Jungle to Hardscape. cool.

This is where we started the summer. Remember our jungle?

Then we got to here, but we ran out of energy, inspiration, and money so we took a breather from yard work.

Then Saturday morning, it was cool for an August morning in Texas, so Doug decided to tackle the "triangle." He took before and the early during pictures on his phone and he texted them to me. However, this week as I sat in in-service and listened about the freedom of information act and public records and how my personal texts can be requested because I am a teacher... (WHAT???) I sat there and deleted all old texts. I have nothing to hide and live pretty open, but that bugged me... so now, if I want a picture of something buried in an old text... too bad! So sorry, no pictures of the early phase!

Here Doug and Maddie are smoothing out 27 bags of sand.

 Then they got to work building the fire pit!

After they built the firepit, they put out 30 bags of Arkansas river rock. 

That was a LOT of work!!

Maddie was Doug's helper all day and did amazing!

They did an incredible job!! While it was cool for August, it was still 93+ degrees! They worked all day and created a wonderful hardscape firepit/planter bed for our front yard!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weight Watchers Active Link and Me... a perfect pair? :)

FYI: This is not a paid endorsement. (I wish) I have to pay my monthly membership and my extra $5 for active link just like everyone else. Should Weight Watchers ever decide to give me something for free, you all will be some of the first to know! :)

This post is about why I have fallen in love with the Weight Watchers Active Link...

I am only in week 1 of my 12 week challenge with the Weight Watchers Active Link. But I am already hooked!

Why, because I THRIVE on challenges. The Active Link gives me a DAILY CHALLENGE, but it also gives me a 12 week goal.

That's right up my alley!

So what is an Active Link? Active Link is this little body clippy thing that you clip to your shirt or bra strap or put in your pocket and it monitors your activity. All your activity. Good or bad. See below the picture of my active link.

I put the little bugger on first thing in the morning when I get dressed and take it off when I get into bed at night.

Here is my page from today. (8/14/13 at 8:12pm) Today being a Wednesday, is my sleep in day... no morning workout. Normally I would do some sort of afternoon run or cross training, but it was our first day back at teacher in-service and I wasn't up for a workout. Tooo much happening in my world right now for an afternoon workout. And I overdid it yesterday considering that I am still recovering from Bronchitis. (shocker..)

What I think is really cool is that even though I sat most of the day, and didn't have any "real" exercise, I still earned 4 activity points. I think playing the wii helped out. But even then, I hit my baseline at 2pm while still at work. I like knowing that even on off days I'm not going backwards.
Did you notice yesterday's points? 11. yup. Maybe that's the real reason behind my not worrying about today's 4.

Now, if you aren't training for a marathon, I realize that your points are not going to look like mine. I hit the highest target from the start. And that was with my assessment week missing 3 days of workout or any real activity because of being sick! I'm actually thankful that the assessment wasn't completely accurate... not that I'm happy about this bronchitis thing, but because I am afraid it would have pushed me to do more. And I don't need that. Challenge yes, push no.

So where do I go from here? Well, my plan is to continue wearing it at least for a few weeks into the school year. I want to see what my activity pattern looks like on a normal school day. I think if nothing else, it will help me to see when I am sitting at my desk too long and when I am engaged teaching. I like the idea of sustained movement. (It helps me rationalize the oreo's!)

As to the Challenge phase? Well, I've got a marathon to run! The long term goal is to earn 8 points a day by the end of 12 weeks. Will I do it? I think so... but we shall see!

If you are a Weight Watchers member and you haven't invested in this yet... DO IT! I don't go to meetings and I don't input all of my food anymore, but this has given me a new spark in my overall weight loss/fitness mindset. And if you are a fool for charts, graphs and details... you will LOVE THIS! I'm guessing you could probably even make a spreadsheet for all of the data! No matter, it is a great little investment into your overall health.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Card Making Tutorial

While I have been resting, I've been making cards. 125 cards actually. Truly, I just love giving little cards for no reason. I am one of the worst about giving birthday cards and special event cards... but cards just because... I love that. I am aware that it makes no sense. No surprise really!

Anyway, here is my card tutorial.
Check out How to Make Your Own Cards by Emily McLemore on Snapguide.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The "ultra" me??

No, you don't have to worry about me running 300 miles in a weekend. And no, I'm not going to start running all night either. But as I am sitting resting, trying to get over bronchitis as fast as possible, I've been reading some really cool books by Ultra runners. 

By definition, Ultrarunning is anything longer than a marathon, but to be "counted" as an ultra event, the race has to be at least 50k (31.07 miles). Many ultra events are 50 miles, 100 miles or more!!

Crazy stuff!!

So why am I intrigued by ultra runners? Because I understand the psyche of these people. Granted I am currently training for my first marathon and can't fathom living in training mode all the time. But I do understand the feeling of having too much energy and "needing an outlet!!" Running 30 miles at one time doesn't scare me either. I'm not ready for that, and with my lungs not at peak at the moment, I couldn't do it... But I know that on a good day, I can run almost 20 miles without feeling sore the next day. So really, the jump from 20 to 30 isn't that far....

How's that for nuts!! If you had asked me a year ago about training for a marathon, I would have said no way! And here I am saying I'm ready for the marathon! And I'm already looking for the next challenge. 

And maybe that's really why I "get" these people. They are challenge junkies.. And so am I. 

So if you want to be challenged and a little horrified at the same time, I would highly recommend reading both Pam Reed's book The Extra Mile and Dean Karnazes book The Ultramarathon Man.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life Long Learner... that's me!

If you have been around my blog for even a few posts, you know that I collect certifications, take classes and am overall just a learning junkie!

This afternoon, in the midst of an allergy induced fog, I added another designation! UIL OAP Contest Manager Certification. I have to say, it is a good thing that I have been in the UIL OAP business a long time cause the 5 modules for training were not as easy as I thought they would be... especially with my head pounding!

Here is a copy of my certificate!
Now all I need is for a district to hire me!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Estate Sale Finds

I love estate sales, garage sales and auctions! You just never know what you are going to find! On Saturday, Doug and I walked a couple of blocks from our house to an estate auction. It was at a house I was longing to see but knew I wasn't going to get to see because 1) it was like 3 times more expensive than my house 2) I'm not allowed to look at houses (yet) since we have only lived in ours for 7 months.

Anyway.. The house was a Brady Bunch time capsule! Incredible! The owner was a doctor and the wife an artist. You can imagine the finds! 

I got some cool stuff for my classroom.. 

Like an unfinished clay bust. The wife died before she finished it. 


And some cool body parts! My students will love drawing those!


And some artwork. Now some people are looking to make money in art work at estate sales. Not me, I only buy pieces I like. If one day they turn out to be worth something, great. But I'm not buying a piece unless I want it for myself!

I love this piece. I tried to find the artist, but no luck. There is a current artist named Pam Nichols, but given the age of these people and when the other pieces were purchased/made in their house, I think this piece had to be pressed in the 60's to early 80's. I think this piece is going in my bedroom, or the living room. Nice neutral palette with lots of texture.

We also got a Picasso print. You can see the aging. I personally like the faded print more than the original colors of red and yellow. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this one. 

The last two pieces I can't tell who painted them. The night scene is fairly large and we are going to rematt it and hang it at Doug's office. It is a fabulous piece! 

And this one is small, maybe 8x10. I love the loose buildings. I think it's on craft paper or a paper bag!

If you have ever seen pieces like these and know who "Betty" ?? Is, I'd love to see more of her? Work!

And those are our "treasures!" 

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Mini Me

Lexi is my mini me. She is high strung, all in and super creative. Tonight I took her to take pics around town so that she could enter a local art show. She had a great eye!! Fun times!

After she took pictures, I showed her picmonkey (free online photo editing site) and she did awesome!!

I'd love to show you her finished piece, but its on the laptop and I am writing my very first post on my iPad! (We are all life long learners in this house!)