Monday, August 31, 2015

Because I can

I ran 125 miles in the month of August.  That's the most miles I have ever run in a month.

I'd like to celebrate. And one day I might.

But my heart is heavy.

This has been a hard week for Maddie.

(Of course it's been a hard week, the first week of school each year is hard. With two-a-days, she starts the year worn out and it's downhill from there!)
First day of School
Nonetheless, four days into the school year, Maddie's kidney has flared along with her asthma and she is one sick girl.

Friday morning I took her to the hospital for blood work between a pep rally and an Algebra 2 quiz. Her urine is brown. She made it all day at school, reported for practice on time and performed at the football game.  Want to see her performance?  Click here!

Immediately after the performance I took her home.  Since 9pm Friday night she has been in bed. It is now 9pm Monday.

The only other time she has been out of the house was at 11pm on Saturday night when I took her to the emergency room. Her asthma was out of control and we needed help.

Since the hospital visit she has been on breathing treatments every 3-4 hours along with a heavy dose of steroids. I'd like to think that she could start weaning herself from these soon, but given that she can't even walk across the house without getting winded, we shall see.

She would also like to go to school tomorrow.

So in the midst of Maddie's crisis, I am running longer and stronger than I ever have.  I can feel myself getting leaner and faster.

And it hurts. Cause Maddie can't run.

We are even selling her treadmill.

She wanted to run, but her body can't. We know longer want the reminder.

It's times like these that are hard. I have to remind myself that it's okay to get down. It's okay to eat the donut for breakfast on occasion cause your child is sick and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. But I can't and won't go back to the daily donuts and being 40+ pounds over weight.

Instead, I am going to get up at 4:15am and run.

Because I can.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My 18th first day as a teacher

Yesterday was the first day of school for the 2015-2016 school year. It was my 18th first day as a teacher. Wow. I can't believe I've been doing this, this long!

Here we are before school.

Aren't they adorable!

Kylie is going into 1st grade.

Lexi is going into 5th and is off to the Intermediate school!

 And Maddie is a 10th grader!

And here is my classroom.  I LOVE getting things organized and ready each year. 

The view from my desk.

A couple of panoramic pictures. Yes, my classroom is HUGE! 

And here is my intro into my world that I showed my students. (there is supposed to be a video below..?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunflowers and Speedwork

Well, summer has come and gone, Now it's time to commemorate the days with another painting. One of my Facebook friends posted a number of absolutely gorgeous pictures of the sunflowers in her area and this motivated me to paint my interpretation of her flowers.  So here you go.

I had a lot of fun playing with modeling paste and gel medium. I really love Golden acrylics. I have found that with my passion for palette knife paintings that I don't have patience for the cheap watery paints anymore.

And speaking of not having patience.. I don't have patience for just simply running 3 days a week and calling it good. I HAVE TO HAVE A GOAL! ugh.  That is just one of my quirks.

So, I am in the heart of training for the Fort Worth Marathon on November 8th. I know. Working full time, raising three daughters, being a pastor's wife and taking 12 hours of graduate class isn't enough for me. I have to train for a marathon. 


And so far, I am loving it. 

Okay, check that. Today I am tired.

But Wednesday is my only off day, so by this morning, Tuesday, I was sluggish. And it was SPEEDWORK! oH mY GrAvy! I did a 1 mile warm up, 9x600's and a cool down mile. Last week, no problem hitting my goals. Today, I had to work a little harder at it. But I ran Thursday thru today and that is new for me.

Anyway, I think besides the sluggish part of it, I like making speed work the last workout prior to the morning off. There is just something really cool about hitting my time goals knowing that I ran a ton of miles on Saturday and Sunday! 

I am stronger than I think I am!!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dwindling Summer

It's almost that time again.. another school year.

This year, Maddie is in 10th, Lexi is in 5th and Kylie is in 1st.

Oh my.

We went school supplies shopping last week. OUCH!

And even though it is summer, Lexi has to have her books. Thank goodness for the public library. I think she is closing in on 50 books read this summer!

I have very much enjoyed lazy mornings and fun running dates with Kylie.

She can run a mile and I figure for a 5 year old, that is pretty good!

I've been painting. I delivered these two paintings this week. They are hanging in my school's office next to the secretary. I love having "gallery" space!

And of course I've been working on my grad classes. I completed another 6 hours at the end of July and will start my final 12 of this degree in another week! I have learned so much and have so much yet to learn.

And I have painted some more. 
Have I said that I love summer? :) !! 

It's always sad for summer to fly by so quickly, but I've been back in my room working already and have a great year planned. I'm hoping to focus this year on doing fewer things. But doing the fewer things really well. 

And's back to work full-time. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I hate Extra Credit!

As I begin my 18th year teaching, I am more determined than ever to take some of the "extra stuff" that I do on a daily basis OFF my load.  These "extras" are time killers, energy wasters and just down right frustrating!!

One of these things that bugs me the most is Extra Credit! 

I really, really want to say, JUST DO THE ASSIGNMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE!! But I don't. I don't because sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. Sometimes the students are just lazy and forgetful. 

But sometimes, so am I.

So, I offer extra credit. Which means more grading for me.


This year, I am taking a page out of the Love and Logic mindset and saying that "fixing your problem should not cause more work for me!" Therefore, extra credit is going to benefit us both.

If a student wants to earn extra credit, GREAT!! 

All the student has to do is go to my "Extra Credit Job Board" and pick a job that goes with the number of points the student wants to earn.

Then the student will have to come in before or after school and take care of the job. Some of the jobs are quick easy jobs. Some are not. Some might even take the student a few visits...

That's the point. Extra credit should be extra WORK for the STUDENT! Not the teacher or the parent!

So why did I choose the jobs that included this time? Cause these are jobs that I end up doing day after day! That's why. I know that students (and parents too) will complain that I'm not giving traditional assignments as extra credit, but I'm tried of making more work for myself when there are jobs that desperately need doing.

And should my room be too clean and too organized? Well, that would be a change! :) And I can always change out the jobs as they are completed should for some reason my sinks are clean!
So I have to say, I'm excited about "giving" extra credit this year!! I wonder how many students will take advantage of my kind offer?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A few more highlights from paradise

Taking time out for "just us" is so very important! With careers, school, kids and countless daily demands, taking a few days to rest and just be together helps Doug and me to connect and chill. I can't recommend taking a vacation alone enough. I know it's expensive and hard to get a way, but WORTH IT!! 

Yep, that's my soapbox. If your relationship is at the bottom of the priority list, and you can't remember the last time you and your significant other had a couple of days away for just the two of you to reconnect, then oh my. It's time!!

So, anyway.. Doug and I went back to the El Dorado Casitas Royale. This is by no means a paid endorsement for them. I WISH!!! But we have been three years in a row! :)

Here are a few of my hundred or so pictures of our time in Mexico.

I have to include food pictures as this is a "Gourmet Inclusive" resort...


Yes, we very much enjoy the food!!

And I couldn't not run or do handstands! The workers enjoyed my handstand antics. 

The "room" is pretty nice too. We stayed at one of the swim-up casitas. I am so spoiled! You get to pick your pillow style/firmness and even choose aromatherapy for the daytime and a different one for the evening.

You can even order room service 24 hours a day.

Every day the room butler would create a towel decoration for the bed! 


And then of course there is the beach. Oh how listening to the sound of the ocean calms my soul. 

After a few days here, I am ready to go home to my girls, but there is something magical about this place! 
See you next time!! 

And if Karisma would like to send me to check out their other resorts and review them... I am READY!! :)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Overcoming claustrophobia is easier on vacation

I have very few real fears in life. However, claustrophobia is one of them. 

I hate going to the dentist as I feel like I am going to drown and that I can't breathe with all of the tools in and around my mouth.

I hate totally enclosed spaces.  I need to be able to see a way out. always!

So when I booked our excursion for our Mexico trip, I specifically said.. I want to rappel. I want to zip line. I DO NOT WANT  to snorkel, go in a cave or anything remotely like that! Swimming in a cenote, yes. but NOT if it is underground.

Fast forward to our trip. We get picked up on time and head to the meeting point of the different groups. All was fine... until.

The tour guide (Ivan) said that we are going to zipline, rappel and then snorkel in a completely underground pool and then eat lunch... I was about ready to have a panic attack before we even arrived at the destination.

Anyway, we arrived at our destination after a long and a little scary drive into the jungle. It was so remote that Doug and I were laughing to ourselves that maybe the real adventure was that we were going to be dropped off in the middle of the jungle of Mexico and told to make it back to civilization! 

No that didn't happen. This was a first class operation. (Adventuras Mayas)

First up, we suited up for rappelling. 

I've never rappelled before. But I could see that the ropes were sturdy and that they weren't going to let me die. So I volunteered to go first when they said that ladies would be going before the men. Heck, I about jumped for the opportunity. This new thing was in my wheel house as my older sister Libby and I used to climb the rock walls of a humongous church that were at least two stories high when we were between 8 and 10 years old! We did that with no one belaying us, no safety harness and no one knowing what we were doing!  and we didn't die. So I figured here I was fine. Besides, if you were early in the group you would get extra turns!!

So off I went.

Here is the picture from their photographers.

I got to the bottom and immediately took off for the top. It was 70+ stairs STRAIGHT UP and these stairs were STEEP! I'm glad I did as I got to see Doug go down!

If you look to the middle of the picture, you can just barely see Doug lowering himself down. Yes, we were way up high!

I followed him down and then we both took off for the top again. Yes, another almost 100 stairs! I was feeling it this time around! 

I was the only female to go 3 times. Yep, I am that nuts. This picture is one of my favorites of Doug and me. I love that you can see how stinkin' high we are and we have already lowered ourselves down almost one story at this point!

After this we went to the zip lines. And more stairs! Oh my. This totally counts as a workout.

I loved zip-lining. It was so much fun. It was not however comfortable. Those harness straps hurt. But totally worth it! We did 3 lines, which meant a LOT of STAIRS!

Then we changed clothes for (.... cue dramatic music) the "swim."

It was with my heart in my throat and more than just a little fear that I walked down those stairs into the cave. OH MY GRAVY. BATS WERE FLYING AROUND!!!

Anyway. We were directed into the water that was freezing. I think the shock to my system allowed my mind to not dwell on the fact that we were underground in a cave!

After all the groups had their photo op, we set out. Which by the way meant putting the mask and snorkel on. The guide actually pushed the mouth piece into my mouth. Probably the best thing to do given that I don't know that I would have done it on my own.

It was HARD. I had to really focus on not panicking. cause I was. I focused on my feet and the water and did my best to just put my face in the water and enjoy the experience.

I can't say that I enjoyed snorkeling. I'm not planning on doing that ever again.

but I did it. I didn't let fear win.

And I can tell my children that I don't want to snorkel because I don't enjoy it. not because I'm too scared to try.

What I did enjoy? The incredible water. The gorgeous colors and trying something new. That I can totally get behind.

Maybe that is the way to overcome a fear. Find a way to embed the fear inducing event in the middle of a fantastically awesome experience. Because overall, the day was incredible. So next time, I am feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic, I am going to channel that cenote and enjoy the cold water and beautiful colors and get through the snorkeling!