Friday, May 30, 2014

My kind-of season

Tball is over. Awesome. Tball is my kind of game. Two practices before the season starts, 9 games (and we missed 2 of them) and we are done.
Kylie loved tball once we arrived at the field. Getting her there some days took bribery.  But that's what being 4 means. Meltdowns and bribery.
Here is the team. Aren't they adorable. Kylie is in the center on the first row.

This last game was Kylie's best. I love ending on a high note. Here are a few pictures of the game.

Warming up. I found out how to get Kylie to throw the ball well. Show her a picture of the ball in the air. She LOVED seeing how far she could throw it on my camera!

At bat.
Fielding the ball??? No, probably dancing!
 Love her.
 So long tball. Hello SUMMER!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Official Documents

There is just something extra special about a fancy envelope!   I got four of them in the mail this week! They weren't mine, they were for my students, but it was really cool! 
Take a look. Yes, I scanned one. Had to, we don't get cool things like this very often!
Why did we get these? Well I had three students compete in the Congressional Art Contest. One student placed 4th, one student was awarded Honorable Mention, and the third student (not pictured as she was absent) didn't place, but was awarded a $500 scholarship!

These students have done fantastic work all year and it's fun to see them excell.

Can't wait to see what they do next year. Maybe we can get some more of these official documents!!! :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

The end of the year.

It has been a fantastic school year. But I am exhausted. 
Stolen from facebook. No clue who to credit! :(

So many wonderful and exciting things happened this year, and everyone of them where my choice to participate in.. so when I say am exhausted, it is completely my own fault.

But here is my school year recap.  (For the record, we have one week left, but I'm finally in cleanup mode!)

June: Worked on the "Big Show" and put on a week-long art camp for kids.

July: Big Show and took a graduate level art course

August: Big Show and start of school

September: Big Show performances and art show

November: Taught teacher workshops at art convention

December: Scholastic Art Contest

January: Youth Art Month, other art contests and another
graduate level art course

February: VASE Art Contest and Theatrical Design Contest

March: Youth Art Month reception and UIL OAP judge

April: State VASE contest, district art show, Congressional Art Contest

May: State Theatrical Design contest and prep for this summer's art camp!

And let's not forget that I trained and ran a marathon during this time and still somehow spent time with my husband and children!

My plans for this summer are to chill. Which means lots of art projects and painting and afternoons at splashville with the girls.

Life is insanely busy and at this point every year I am totally exhausted, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm already working on next school year and thankful that I have a great job that provides me with all of the professional accolades that I need, but weeks to recover and renew myself. 

So come on summer!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Does the Jeff Galloway method really work?

I love running the Jeff Galloway method. Why? Because I'm faster, stronger and injury-free. That's why!

The Jeff Galloway Run,Walk, Run method is about balance. Or maybe in today's fitness terms, it's a HIIT workout that just doesn't quit. (HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training)

For all of you non-runners and non-Galloway people out there... the Galloway Method gives you a starting point, helps you to find your path to fitness and keeps you going. Galloway says, okay, you can run for 30 seconds? Great! Do that and then walk for a minute. Then run for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds and repeat.  In fact, this is his plan for the 16 minute per mile group. If you can run faster than that, well, then run longer and walk less. But DON'T stop the walk breaks.

For more information, check out his pace chart here.

In fact, for people thinking about running, I think Galloway's plan is ideal because it keeps you moving longer. Sure, many of us at our most unfit state could push through a mile. But without a plan, we are going to HURT later and have to take off days to recover before we try again. Galloway says, stop doing that to yourself! Just get out there and move.

Two years ago when I started running, I didn't know what to do, so I tried the couch to 5k plan to start, but it was hard and the expectation that within seven weeks I'd be able to run for 30 minutes straight was disheartening! Instead, I'd run as far as I could, then walk and then run till I couldn't breathe and so forth. My mile pace was an average of 14 minutes per mile. I can't imagine how much more successful I would have felt if I had been doing a 30 sec run/ 30 sec walk pattern from the start!

But thankfully, just three months into my new running lifestyle, I made some incredible friends with ladies who run using Galloway. They did a 3 min run/1 min walk. I was SCARED TO DEATH to try to run with them. And at first is was tough. But I did it and quickly was able to keep up! .

What I learned from the group was that by having the consistent breaks, I could push harder during the 3 minutes of running because I knew I'd get a walk break! My pace got better and I have to say, looking back at my stats, I am so proud of myself because truly, just three months into running, I logged a 5 mile run at a 10:54 pace!

What I have found over the last two years is that I'm confident in who I am enough to say that YES, I am interval runner. That I can and do take consistent walk breaks so that I can run stronger and faster. And most importantly, to those people out there that believe and say that if I take a walk break, I'm not a runner... the proof is at the finish line! Sure, I can run an entire 5k or 10k and probably even a 1/2 marathon. But why should I do that to my body when I can take a short walk break, catch my breath, run faster, finish stronger and not have the horrible recovery?

Don't believe me? These are a few of my real life stats from May. I didn't include all of it, cause remember I did a 1/2 marathon a couple of weeks ago and was training and tapering for that.

The important thing to notice here is that the slowest time I have for this distance.. was when I DIDN'T take the consistent walk breaks! 

Nothing like feeling like a REAL runner and have a SLOWER time!

So for all of you fence-sitters out there who are wondering when I will "work up to running all the time" I can tell you that I'm not planning on it!  Jeff Galloway has qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times using his run/walk/run plan and while I'm not trying to get my times down to Boston times, I do consider myself a "real" runner even with the walk breaks!

In two years I've gone from being a 14 minute miler to an consistent 9 minute miler and even more importantly, I haven't been hurt!

I'm excited about the future... in another 2 years could I be a 7 minute miler?  hmm.. for my age group to qualify for Boston, I'd have to run a 3:45 marathon. That's an 8:34 pace. My lone marathon time is a 12:05 pace.. guess I better get to work if I want to go to Boston! :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Painting in Church

I was asked to create a painting during church. Start to finish. One hour. Holy Cow!
Of course I said yes. You know me, I love a challenge.
So, yesterday, during our churches 9am service, I painted a complete painting.
Below are some of the pictures that Doug took of me working. Fun to see the process.
Notice the empty canvas. I had the sketch on the canvas to start, but that was it.

 As soon as the first song began, I started working. Fast and furious was the name of the game.


That had to be the fastest hour of church EVER. At the end of the service, the pastor asked me to tell about the piece... the painting is of my impressionist interpretation of the church and the woman we were honoring that day. (Miss Penny worked with the preschool children in our day school for 40 years!!)

When the service was over, Doug came up and took some closeups of me finishing up.

Here is the "completed" piece. It's not really, but close enough for the day. I told Miss Penny that I would finish it this week and get it to her. I want to get a chance to fine tune it and you just can't do that in an hour (plus the extra 30 minutes that I took afterwards while the choir was setting up...).

So will I do this again? Absolutely. But not once a month as I was asked too! That would be too much like work.  I also learned that painting buildings within the one hour time frame is too hard! I need to keep it simple! I ended up working in acrylic so that the dry time would work for transport, but I much prefer the blendability of oils. It was harder to work in acrylic as I had to just layer instead of blend. I think I'd like to try to find a way to transport an oil painting!

But was it fun? YES!  And when I really finish, I'll post a picture of the completed painting.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Land Purchase

One of my hobbies is looking at houses and house plans. It drives Doug crazy.
For example, we can be 10 miles, 100 miles or 1000 miles from home and drive by an Open House, and I WANT to go look at that house! Doug doesn't understand it. I know we won't buy the house.. but it doesn't keep me from wanting to look at it! I consider it to be fun.
Anyway, for the last 15 years I have been looking at house plans and we have talked about building our dream house. We moved cities and states, we had kids, we've changed jobs and done all the things that keep you from building a dream house. But now, as Doug says, the "cement has set." We aren't going anywhere. So the time is right.
A friend of ours heard that we were looking at a piece of land and mentioned that she had an acre that she might be willing to sell to us. So she and her husband discussed it and Doug and I discussed it and I wavered back and forth over a few weeks. So many options to consider. I love living in town and a block from the high school.. but the idea of more space and a pool.. that's rather appealing too.
One day I would be, let's do it. The next day, I'd tell Doug about a house on the market. The next day I'd suggest building on a tiny lot in town. The next day I'd be back to the acre. The next day I'd mention a different house in town. And so on.
Finally Doug mentioned that every day was new and he couldn't keep up. I told him that until he decided on something, I'd probably continue this pattern.
So, all that to say....
Guess what I got for Mother's Day?
An acre of land! With an option to purchase the acre next to it.
I'm pumped! The road the land is on 3 miles from the high school. It's country living, but not "out in the country!"
Here we are at the property yesterday!
Love this picture! :)

Trying to get the timer set to take a family photo.. fail.
So what's next? Well, we will meet with the builder for an informal first meeting in June and start from there. In the meantime, I have about a dozen new house plans for Doug to look at.... everyday. 
Good thing he's a patient man.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Maddie turns 14.

Maddie turned 14 last Sunday.  I can't believe another year has flown by!

I tried to get some pictures... let's go with tried. They aren't great but at least we have a record of the event.

Yes, Maddie is taller than I am. Given that she isn't finished growing, my bet is that she will be 5'8 or more.

We had Lexi and Kylie take pictures to see if we could get a decent group picture...

I ordered a special birthday cake. YUMMY! and cute! What was so special is that the lady who made the cake wanted to use Maddie's favorite colors on it, so she decorated an additional layer of fondant and then placed it on the white icing.

And for presents.. Kylie chose to give Maddie a purse.

 And Lexi chose, 
...a pretty dress!

We gave her a new-to-her laptop. 

And lastly, I wanted pictures of the girls. Love them!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

TBall Time

I'm becoming rather nostalgic. It's hard to believe that my baby is playing Tball and doing big kid things. We've had a preschool little girl in our house for so long, that I'm afraid by the time Kylie starts Kindergarten in the fall I'll be a teary mess!
Anyway... Kylie's first two Tball games were this week. She was adorable I must say!

All of the Daddies are helper coaches. It's fun to watch the dads try to corral the kids!

Outfield work is tough. Sometimes you have to take a break.
Here is Kylie at bat! Love the too big pink softball helmet that she chooses to wear instead of the boring (and tight) black tball helmet!

I don't have a close up picture of her and Coach Tony, but man is he a fantastic coach. At the first game he even used his shirt to wipe her snotty nose when they didn't have a kleenex!

Even more, he has taken the time to get to know Kylie and recognizes that she pulls back from the group when she is unsure of what to do or things get too crazy. He stops and call her by name and brings her back into the activity without us having to push her. By the end of the second game this week, she was leaning into him and talking and interacting. And, if that wasn't enough, he even got her to field an ball and throw it to first! Woohoo!