2019 Summer Week 2

Day 8 Soggy Starbucks Run

This morning Jay was photographing a race, so I had a short window of time to get my not-very-long long run in before I needed to be home with the kids.  It was slow, soggy, and almost cold, but I never regret a run once I’m out there.  The best part was running into Jay with about one mile to go.  My new watch has a tracking feature that allows certain people to access where I am along my route.  (No, this does not feel creepy stalker-ish when my husband’s the one doing the tracking.)  He surprised me along my course, and we chatted for a few minutes before I had to keep moving to get warm.  I like that guy.

Day 9 Put a Bucket on Your Head

At some point this weekend Bubba turned an old popcorn bucket into a helmet.  I guess if you have to unload the dishwasher, doing it with a bucket on your head is the way to go.  I just tried not to think about what nastiness was getting in his hair.

Also today, there are no pics to prove it, but I met Emily and Alissa for Starbucks and race stories.  My friend is strong, brave, and able to run 100 miles in less than 24 hours, and now she has the belt buckle to prove it.

 

Day 10 Camping Prep

This coming Friday we leave for our annual family camping trip.  The kids have been busy prepping by spending many hours in their hammocks.  Jay has installed hooks both outside and inside, and they’ve alternated back and forth with the rain.  Here’s a picture he sent me of Chica asleep for the night right beside his desk in the basement.

 

Day 11 Professional Development

Today I led two different math PD sessions for LCS teachers.  The first was a repeat of a training that I led in the spring.  I tweaked a few things and planned for it to be twice as long, and I think this one went beautifully.  I led a second one in the afternoon that was longer and had many more teachers in attendance.  This was a training that I planned during one of my Master’s classes, so I was excited to have a chance to try it out.  Facilitating something like this with people that don’t know each other is always tricky, especially if participants are a bit hesitant to share.  I was pleased with how things went overall, but I definitely know elements I will change if I get a chance to lead it again.

Day 12 Picnic

Today we enjoyed the annual University of Lynchburg faculty and staff picnic.  I think this was at least our third year attending as a family.  Chica spent the whole time cuddling kittens that one of the librarians is fostering, Bubba got me soaked in the water balloon toss, and Jay stalled in the shade as long as he possibly could before returning to his office for a meeting.  I’m so thankful that U of L has been such a great fit for him and our family.

Day 13 More Camping Prep

To me the worst part of camping is not the bugs, lack of air conditioning, or sleeping on the group.  It’s the packing.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get my butt in gear and get ready until the last minute this time.  We altered our usual final night dinner from hot dogs to hamburgers, so this is the picture I sent Jay from Walmart to make sure I was getting something he’d approve of.  In case you’re wondering, these were great.

 

 

Day 14 Finally On Our Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the picture I sent Jay around 11am, just one hour after I was originally hoping to leave for Twin Lakes State Park.  I was so proud of myself for getting everything in the van and all of the bikes on the rack without a great struggle, so I sent a text to brag.  He was appropriately impressed.

The past few years we’ve gone to James River State Park, but we decided to try a new spot this year.  We were so excited to find that friends of ours are the camp hosts at Twin Lakes this summer.  They have kids almost the exact same ages as Chica and Bubba, so the four of them spent countless hours together riding bikes, exploring, going to the ranger programs, and swimming.  I don’t have a ton of pics, though, because I purposely let my phone die and put it away for most of the weekend.

Day 15 Kayaking

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the morning lounging, reading, and watching the kids ride bikes.  In the afternoon I took them to the lake to try kayaking.  Much like last year’s tubing debacle, Bubba hated it.  That child literally pouted and scowled for 35 minutes straight.  Turns out he was scared of jellyfish, but his fear gets translated straight into anger for whatever reason.  I tried all the mom tricks I knew and finally declared, “I am NOT going to let you ruin my hour of kayaking too.  I am choosing joy!”  (Fake it til ya make it, anyone?)  Well, some switch happened, he suddenly decided he was fine, and he paddled out to the center of the lake to meet up with Chica.  With our 20ish minutes left, we explored the entire left side of the lake, and that stone-cold kid even cracked a smile or two.

As I was finishing up washing dishes after dinner, the kids told me they were going to go on a bike ride with their friends.  I said okay, then asked if they would mind waiting for me to join them.  Well, IT happened.  I got a heavy sigh, bit of an eye roll, and a totally unconvincing “okay” from Chica.  My brain jumped from hurt to understanding to back to hurt, I told them to go on without me, and I trudged back to the campsite to pout to Jay.  That wise guy encouraged me to suck it up and go on my own bike ride…a perfect solution to get my mind off the idea that my kids are entering a new stage of independence that I’m not sure I like.  I rode three hard miles on the Beaver Trail and forgot all about her heavy sigh.  I was mostly just thinking about how I should have brought water, and hoping I’d make it back before dark.

Oh…and one more story I don’t want to forget.  Jay decided to sleep in the hammock tonight.  The kids were already in the tent, I was trying to finish up the last few pages of a book, and he was turning in early.  All of a sudden I hear the distinct sound of a tree falling from his direction.  Then silence.  Nothing.  I instantly knew what had happened, and the moments of complete stillness were so frightening.  Yep, you guessed it…the part of the tree where he had attached the strap of his hammock completely snapped off.  He came down with it, and he was laying flat on his back tangled in the hammock when I finally got over to him.  He had managed to roll out of the way while the huge branch was coming down, and he was laughing by the time I got to him.  Someone from a nearby site called out to see if we were okay, but by that point all we could do was laugh…and laugh, and laugh.  I finally helped him up, he tied the straps around a thicker part of the same tree, and got back in the hammock.  He made it through the whole night without breaking anymore trees. 🙂

Day 16 High Bridge & Legos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our camp host friend, Becky, is training for an upcoming half marathon, so she needed to run 10 miles today.  I was so excited to join her on the High Bridge Trail, another nearby state park.  We hit the bridge at the most beautiful moment of the sunrise.

 

 

 

 

 

For Father’s Day we gave Jay a 3 in 1 Lego set, and he had completed all three by the end of the day like I knew he would.  The kids and I decided on another spin out on the lake, and this time Chica and I tried their stand-up paddle boards.

Day 17 Home and Back and Home Again

 

 

 

 

 

I had an interview back home this morning, so we got up early to have breakfast and start packing up our campsite.  Our breakfast choices were limited because SQUIRRELS!  Saturday one of the kids left the food tote open, and while we left the site for a few minutes, a squirrel got in a helped himself to some of our bagels.  Well get this…on Sunday the plastic tote was completely shut, but they still found a way in while we were out.  Those suckers chewed through the tough plastic top and got to the rest of our sliced bread and more bagels.  Lesson learned:  Food. Stays. In. Van.

Anyways, I traveled back home in the morning, showered so I wouldn’t reek of campfire and sunscreen, completed the interview, then headed back to the campground for a few more hours on the beach with my kids.  And guess what crazy thing happened while I was at the bathhouse trying to help everybody cleaned up before heading home again?!? I received the call that I GOT THE JOB!  I’m so excited to share that I’m staying at my same school, but I’ll be moving into the role of Instructional Coach.  Basically that means that I will do whatever I can to help teachers teach better.  What a great end to a great vacation…probably the best our family of four has ever had.  We celebrated the new job with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and many excited texts with friends and family.  Woohoo!

 

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2019 Summer Week 1

I wrote a whopping two blog posts this past school year.  One was a social story about dropping cinnamon buns on the porch, and the other was a list of all the things I want to do after finishing my grad courses.  Good news….I’ve already accomplished seven of the 23 things on The List, and I’ve started working on four more.  And since one of the 23 things is “blog regularly again”, here I am with a return of the photo-a-day summer posts.

Day 1 Smoothie

I chose this picture because it represents victory.  We have finally found something that Bubba will willingly eat every day for breakfast: a berry & banana smoothie.  For so long there was great gnashing of teeth whenever he was asked to find something to eat in the morning.  Cereal? No. Toast? No. Eggs? No.  PBJ? No. Anything?  Noooonoonooonononono.

Because I grew up an Earley, I don’t believe in skipping breakfast for any reason other than a blood test.  So Bubba’s breakfast refusal has always been particularly bothersome for me.  Enter the smoothie and some cool new flexible, reusable straws that Jay bought, and we can now usually avoid any fighting until at least 8:00 a.m.  Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it.  It makes one great-big-ol’ smoothie for me and a reasonable one for the Bub.

1/2 a frozen banana
2 cups of frozen berries (right now we’re using this mix from Kroger)
3/4ish cup frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 cup plus another splash of skim milk

Day 2 Conquer the Cove

The third thing on The List was “run faster.”  Already done!  What what?!?!

This was my second year completing the Conquer the Cove 25k, the final race of the RNUTS series.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for my pace because I hadn’t done a ton of long runs before the race, but I was pleasantly surprised with dropping 20 minutes off of last year’s time!  I don’t think my training has been much different this spring, so I have to attribute the difference to the weight I’ve lost lately.

Second best part of this day?  The nap I took in the shade while Jay finished up taking pictures of the marathoners.

Day 3 Classroom

Like just about every other year of my teaching career, I wasn’t done-done by the last day of work.  I had to go back and pack up my classroom, and thankfully Grandma was willing to stick around to help.  I’m pretty sure if she wasn’t there, I would have just stood in the center of the room, spun in circles, and repeatedly said, “I don’t know where to begin. I can’t do this.”  There was still plenty of that, but then Grandma was there to point to a pile and tell me to get started.  I didn’t end up finishing Monday, so I had to go back a second day.  She rearranged things at work and stayed an extra-extra day.  The first picture is one she took when the Hoffmans stopped by to grab some things from his classroom, and the last two are the finished product.

 


Day 4 Barnes & Noble

At some point while she was here, Grandma took the kids to B&N, I’m pretty sure with the intention of getting them an end-of-the-school-year reward.  Bubba ended up with Pokemon cards, and Chica got a new journal, but this kid couldn’t take his mind off of the Pokemon card holder he also saw while they were there.  Somehow he talked me into writing him a chore list so that he could earn a few bucks to go buy it.  And then miracle of all miracles, he completed the list in an hour or two, without any whining.  So after dinner we went and bought the thing, and he’s been carrying it around, rearranging and talking about his cards non-stop ever since.

Day 5 Library

I count today as the first real day of summer because I didn’t have to go to school.  I took a barre fusion class at the Y for the first time, and I didn’t die or embarrass myself too terribly much.  We went from there to the library to read to the Therapy Dog.  We wanted to stick around for the free lunch, so we also painted with watercolor pencils in the adult section, checked out books, and worked on a math puzzle together.  I’ve tweeted it and told my librarian friend directly, but I just need everyone to know that the Lynchburg Public Library is doing a bang-up job.  We have nothing but great experiences every time we go there, and they are doing so much this summer to engage kids and families.  Give them a visit!

 

Day 6 Podcast & Girls’ Night

Though I regularly blow up Twitter with news about it, I haven’t written about our podcast here.  Ruth, Jay, and I started a math education podcast this fall, and today we recorded episode 30!?!  It still catches me off guard to realize that there are people, other than my next door neighbor friend and mom, who actually listen to us regularly.  If I had to guess, I think we’re safely at at least 20 faithful listeners around the country & Canada.  This project has been one of the biggest joys of my year because of how it’s stretched us as teachers and communicators.  Today’s recording was especially fun because we took things on the road to Ruth’s school to talk about Math Fact Fluency with several of her teachers & administrators.  We were both super encouraged by the conversation.

I spent the afternoon at a technology training, followed by reading in the Student Center at Randolph College.  Then I met my work friends for drinks, dinner, and dessert downtown.  The second picture here are all the pictures that Hannah texted Jay while we were out, because….well….why not?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7 Walking, Fight, Nature Zone, & Reading

There were too many good things to write about today to pick just one.  So you’re getting four.

Big news:  Jay and I walked together FIVE mornings in a row this week.  Yep, I couldn’t believe it either, but it happened.  Today it was rainy, and he agreed….actually suggested….that we go to the Y Express to walk on the treadmills and talk.  This picture was on the way out.  (Pics or it didn’t happen??)  He was trying to emulate Rachel with the shoulder drop.  I think it’s working.

 

I swam laps at the Y today too.  Check that off “The List.”  Meanwhile the kids were in the Kidz Gym, apparently being absolutely horrid to each other.  From what I can gather, Bubba monopolized the karaoke machine, and Chica laid the hateful comments on thick.  But I went all PBIS on them, and decided that my best bet was to just do some reteaching about how to treat each other with kindness right there in the Y lobby.  It worked.

Here they are 30 minutes later thoroughly enjoying playing together while I bought myself more time to read.  I’m proud of Chica for admitting she was ugly and working to make it up to him.  I’m proud of Bubba for not dragging his #mood out all afternoon.  I’m proud of Jay for suggesting via text that I give them a chance to work it out.  I didn’t storm home and separate them all afternoon…my initial plan.  I didn’t just ignore it.  We talked about it, worked it out, and moved on.  These are the important moments.

In my beginning of the summer enthusiasm, I used the Macaroni Kid website to look for more fun ideas of things to do these weeks when I don’t have class.  In case you haven’t been lately, the Nature Zone is in a new location at Miller Park.  It’s free and open Fridays and Saturdays.  We visited, and I think our favorite parts were the turtles, snakes, and drawers of treasures to explore.

 

Finally, I had great aspirations of cleaning up our house this week.  I wanted to put away all the laundry, unpack many, many bags of junk from school, start to organize the basement, etc.  But it hasn’t happened yet, and I’m okay with that.  Instead, we had many more important moments like this one, reading on the couch together.  The mess will wait.