Monday, September 30, 2013

Highlights from the Big Show!!

A few (or 26) highlights from the TASA/TASB convention.

Here is Lexi with her photograph.

And a picture of Lexi's best friend Emma with her art and a senior art student.

Here I am with Mindy, my bff and sidekick and our superintendent Dr. Floyd. Mindy and I worked tirelessly on this show!

And here are the show highlights. A friend of mine took the upclose pictures as she was in prime seating!  I took the ones from the very back. I don't like sitting and watching a show of mine. I need to be able to move!

The kids did an outstanding job. We were so proud of them! It was so fun to see them shine on those massive screens. They didn't even realize the venue was so big! The lights were bright and Maddie said they could only see about 10 rows deep. There were only a few hundred rows beyond that!

I'm not planning on doing another production like this anytime soon, but I have to say, it was an incredible experience to put together. All of the pieces of the puzzle and the planning.. just my kinda of thing! I was glad to see that I was as good at handling the production as I had billed myself to be!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sometimes it's the not so little things

The last few days have been uber hard. I've been working all day, nights and weekends and all the while training for a marathon on top of the big show. In the midst of that we've had some disciplinary issues... I deal with kids all day, of course I have some disciplinary issues. But it's not my usual stuff because I don't have problems in my classroom.. usually. Cause I'm there and my student's know my expectations. But lately I've been gone so much with the big show that they are pushing the boundaries. I feel like we are still at week 2 instead of the end of the first grading period.

Anyway... all that to say, It's been rough.

But today was great.

First off... I ran fast this morning.  A total of almost 3 miles at a 8:30 pace. It wasn't a constant 8:30 pace. That would be too incredible to believe.. but it was running almost an 800 and then walking for a couple of minutes to catch your breath and then running again... so I was pumped. I figured I'd be sore. I'm not.

Then I got to school and found out that I was named one of the teachers of the month! Even better, I get to share it with a few really incredible teachers... including one of my besties. :)

And last, we had our final practice performance for the big show today. Yippee. We are ready!

I leave tomorrow to install the art exhibit and the final countdown to the BIG SHOW has begun!

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's almost BIG SHOW time!

To say that things are crazy around here implies a semblance of normal. There is none.

But, as my principal said to me this afternoon as I was leaving school. I made it through today.

By this weekend, a WHOLE lot of my crazy will be completed. In fact, a year's worth of planning and preparing will be presented and finished. Wow. No wonder I've gone off the crazy train.

On Friday at 4pm the group of 100 kids below will present a 20 minute Broadway style show about our school district to the state administrators/school board convention attendees.

It's a big deal.

The last few weeks have been difficult. Lots of rehearsals and performances. We are all tired. you can see that in the picture above.  I'd like to say they are all singing... some of the younger kids aren't. :)

Both Lexi and Maddie are in the show. 

So they get me crazy here and at school.

Yes, we will all be relieved when it's done.

Truly, I've tried to be nice to people about it and not go psycho on people about things cause I asked for the responsibility. I have loved working on this production. It's what my degree is in! But I didn't take into consideration that in the last month craziness that I'd still have my regular teaching load and all of the responsibilities of my classroom on top of the responsibilities of taking a production on the road with 10 performances, multiple meals, transportation issues, 25 adults and on and on... .  Not great planning on my part I guess.

But guess what? It's almost here and it will be FABULOUS! Thanks for hanging in there and checking back every so often to see if I have survived.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Doug suggested I not call out a certain department store

So I won't.

There is a reason I run things by my rational husband.

But let me say this.

If a certain department store has 75% of their clothes on clearance all of the time, yet no one is in the store, maybe the buyer for the parent company has issues.

Here is my tale of the store today.

I made some purchases a few weeks ago and had to return as Maddie had needed the medium jacket that I bought for myself instead of the small jacket that I bought for her.

Clue 1.

Maddie wears a small. In fact, except for height, Maddie could wear a size 12 girls. She is a SMALL.

I also had to return a pair of pants that I had bought for myself. The tag says my size. But when I got them home I couldn't get them past my knees.

Clue 2.

So instead of returning the items, the salesperson asked if I'd like to exchange. I said I'd look around. And hey, why not.. everything is on sale. (sidenote: salespeople are nice and personable)

I look around and have a little trouble finding things I'd like to try on. Most of the clothes are for an older generation. And I don't dress young.

Clue 3.

I find some capri trousers that are okay. Knowing my issue with the pants that I just brought back I get a pair that is a size up. And another pair in another color TWO sizes up. This doesn't make me happy.

I also find a couple of shirts and hang onto those.

I go try on the clothes.

The pants don't fit. In fact, I can't get them buttoned.

This does not make me happy.

Clue 4.

Unhappy customers because of bad sizing or poor clothing doesn't make for quality customers.

In the end, I exchange for a couple of generic tops that I can wear to work.

So this is what I have to say to the unnamed department store chain...

WHY in the world would I purchase a size of 12 or 14 pants from you when I wear a size 6!!! Look back at my last blog post. I already have food and self-image issues. I don't need this!! I don't know why this store sized DOWN... but NO WOMAN wants to buy a LARGER SIZE. EVER.

Especially when the woman didn't gain any weight but for some reason the store decided to go small.

And this is no Abercrombie and Fitch..

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The difference between easy and worthy and a shackle that is 28 years old.

My mom, Jeannette, is the Women's Minister at a church called Cottonwood. She also leads their Celebrate Recovery ministry.  Last Sunday she spoke about choosing a life a freedom to BE and to DO, not to just exist. If you would like to listen to her sermon, click HERE.

But in case you don't think you have time... I'll sum up a couple of the points that I liked the most.

One of the points that really has stuck with me over the last week is this quote... 
"We are not called to that which is easy. 
We are called to that which is Worthy!"

Maybe you don't live in a world where you are constantly asked, "which one is easier.." but as a teacher I am asked this almost DAILY! And while the choice between two art options are not life choices, it is a reflection on the priorities of students. And this transfers to adults too. Believe me. We all want easy answers. But sometimes, we have to step back and ask ourselves if we have shortchanged our very lives because we are looking for the easy and not the worthy! 

The other point that I've been pondering this week is that at times we may feel like we are living in freedom, but that we are actually living in shackles. Yes, we have freedom to move, but the shuffling that is required when you wear shackles gives you the illusion of freedom; but you are actually chained.


As a runner, I truly can't imagine what I would do if I didn't have the freedom to pick up my feet and run.

I think we all have areas in our lives that cause us to live as shackled people. Shackling takes many forms, for some it's addiction, others it's self-image. Anything that keeps us from taking a full step forward is in reality a shackle.

For me, my weight has often been an area of my life that has kept me shackled. My weight has left me at times feeling unworthy, ugly, unimportant and every other negative thing. Then there are other times when I have lost the weight, when I feel better and look better, yet, I still am shackled! I have to keep it off. I have to FIGHT the weight every day! When others would think that it's all great, that I have hit the "right number" on the scale. But in my reality, the weight shackle is still there.

I deal with this daily. To be honest, I have dealt with this daily for the last 28 years. Yes, 28. Since I was eleven years old.

That's quite a shackle.

Running has helped me refocus and redefine who I am. I am learning that I am not defined by a number on the scale. But it is not easy. Everyday I step on that scale thinking that it is going to be five pounds heavier. Everyday I pull out a pair of pants to wear and wonder if they will fit. Just this morning, I pulled out a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a few months and was surprised they fit. I shouldn't have been surprised. I know what size I am. But I was. I expected the pants to be too tight. 

I have to say, it is really, really hard to break a shackle that you have come to call as part of you. It's an extension of who I am. I'm not proud of that, but it is my reality.

I am learning to break this shackle. I am learning that I am more. 

If you wondered why running a marathon was important to me, now you know. To run a marathon, you have to be strong. Skinny doesn't equal strong.

Wow... didn't mean to go into self-reflection there on you.

Maybe you should all go back to the top of this post and listen to my mom's message. Cause I'm going to stop there. I got side tracked and don't remember the other points of hers that I was going to tell you about.

Tomorrow morning, as I take a well deserved rest day after a hard weekend 18 mile run. I am going to remind myself that I am more. I am going to remind myself that I want to break the shackle so that I can run free. And let me tell you... this is NOT easy, but I am Worthy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What do you do when you have nothing left?

What do you do when you have nothing left?

Nothing left to give.
Nothing left to say.

Well, in my world,  you have two choices. You can cry and keep going or you can run and keep going.

Bet you can guess what I did.

Tonight after a super long day complete with almost 5 hours of driving, 2 hours sitting in the doctor's office WAITING to be seen by the specialist and countless work problems and issues that had to be dealt with right then even though I wasn't at work to deal with them... I was ready to scream. or cry. or hide.

Instead, my little girls asked me to go run with them.

So we did.

Lexi and Kylie and I went and ran almost a mile tonight after supper.

And I enjoyed it. And loved on my girls a little.

Then came home and dealt with about 3 THOUSAND more details and problems.

I'm not even trying to live a normal life these days.

I am doing my absolute best to remind myself that September 27th will be here soon and the Broadway bonanza that I have been killing myself over the last nine months is about to be completed. (When I realized what we were doing and that I was going to be an active participant in the planning of it... other duty as assigned... I asked for the most responsibility! Control issues?)

I'm totally nuts.

But the production is fantastic.

I'm totally exhausted. Nothing left in the tank.

But I'm 51 days from my first marathon... which translates to non-marathoners... an 18 mile run this Saturday and at least one 20 miler in the next couple of weeks....

All that to say.. if you have an extra moment in your day. Be thankful. And if you don't need it... send it my way. I could use a few. 4:30am training runs are hard. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tradition be BLEEPED! I'm teaching Color FIRST!!

Some traditions are important. 
Some traditions become traditions because it means something or makes sense of something.

But sometimes, you do things because it's always been done that way. 

And then you find out a much, much better way to do something and you have to stop and wonder why you did it the other way in the first place. 

And it boils down to... it's the way things have always been done.

Well, I've experienced one of these situations over the last week. Lesson Learned!!

With school back in session, this week in my classes, we started the first unit or "bundle." Traditionally, it seems that LINE has always been the first concept taught. I don't know why. That's the way textbooks are set up. Someone along the way liked line most and did it that way. No matter, that's the way secondary art curriculum is arranged. 

Well, over the summer when all of the art teachers in the district got together and aligned the curriculum, our Kindergarten art teacher said no way! She couldn't teach line first! Line is a fine motor skill. She had to start with color! So after discussion, that's what we did. All of the art teachers in the district at all the levels would teach color first.

And it has been WONDERFUL!!!

Five days into the semester and my art 1 students were PAINTING!! I taught classroom expectations and procedures while they were PAINTING! Students were engaged the entire class. There wasn't a fuss, a moan or even a whimper. Every day students walked in and immediately got to work.

We spent four days on the color wheel. WAY too long from a traditional mindset. But it was perfect! I'll never go back to teaching line first! Over the last week I had students paint primary colors and secondary colors on a color wheel. I talked to them about the primary colors and how they can remember them as PARENT colors.  And that the kids get between the parents and are made from the parents. And these are secondary colors because they are the second generation.  Students get this. They laugh and talk about what the next generation of colors is called! They even remember how to space them on the color wheel. It's easy to remember that kids get between parents. It's hard to remember primary and secondary colors.

Then I had the students make another wheel, this time divided into eight parts. Now they had to take the colors from the first wheel and mix new colors. No repeats. This took two days! But you know what? They LEARNED that mixing colors across the color wheel makes for muddy brownish colors... no matter where you start on the wheel. And they LEARNED that pretty colors are next door neighbors, because they are friends!  Your friends stand beside you while you face your enemy (complimentary color) across the wheel.

Next week, they will make another color wheel. But this time, they are going to make a 12 section radial design and then embed the color wheel. Guess what.. it's a fine motor skill line project. But I'm not telling them that!

Here are some samples I found on the Internet.

Below is the teacher sample that I made. I'm going to make another one that has the pattern fully developed into one pie and leave the white space.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The September Plank Challenge.... and a new Snapguide for getting your kids to work out with you!

A facebook group I'm a part of... Women's Running Club has a September challenge of doing the plank move every day. So, I figured I might as well get my girls involved!

And while we were playing, I figured we might as well do a little more... and then pictures were taken, and then it was like, well, we might as well make it into something as Lexi LOVES taking pictures!

So I made a snapguide. 
Check out How to Incorporate Your Kids Into a Core Workout! by Emily McLemore on Snapguide.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I did it. I registered for my first marathon!!

EEK!!! I'm soo excited and a little scared. I just registered for my first marathon!!

So if any of you readers out there live in/near Abilene, Texas I'd love your support!! Saturday November 2nd!

Oh my.