2019 Summer Week 4

Day 24 Clean Table

Finally. Home.  (For a day at least.)  I’m not ashamed to admit that some of the tubs and coolers from camping were still hanging out in the kitchen at the start of this day.  The best part of today was recovering the kitchen and dining room.  I’m thankful for a husband that still cheers me on when I send him these kinds of pictures while he’s at work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 25 VCTM & Trails

Photo Credit: AllTrails.com

So that home thing didn’t last long.  I headed to Richmond again for a meeting of the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics board.  This was my first official meeting as one of two elementary representatives.  These kinds of situations stir up a bit of my impostor syndrome.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that the folks there were super kind, and I actually had decent ideas to add to the conversation and brainstorming.  As I had promised myself the week before, I ended the day with a ride at Pocahontas State Park on the most perfect trails.  While I was riding, my mom texted and asked if I wanted to catch up with her for dinner before heading back.  We enjoyed dinner at Chuy’s while chatting about her upcoming surgery and how her friends remind me of the movie Wine Country.

Day 26 Middle School

This week Chica has been attending a middle school orientation of sorts.  The bus picks her up at the top of our street, and she spends the morning there having breakfast, going to a few “classes” and eating lunch before she gets dropped off back at home.  While Bubba has certainly missed her company during the day, I think it’s overall been a great experience for her.  She’s talked about making a new friend, taking a tour, visiting the herpetology lab, and decorating a pot in art.  I’m thankful for the teachers who gave up part of their summer to make sure incoming 6th graders feel prepared.  Now we just need to figure out how to help moms and dads feel prepared too.

Day 27 Podcast & Bike Ride

Today was a first for our podcast!  We welcomed a remote guest, Alice Aspinall, who talked about her book, Everyone Can Learn Math.  She wasn’t afraid of our 6AM start time, and we joked about how thankful we are that a podcast is just audio and not video!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Chica was having something special each day at school, I felt like I should do the same for Bubba.  We chose a morning bike ride on the trail and did almost 7 miles together.  When I go on short adventures like this with him, I can’t help but wonder what’s to come.  When he gets bigger and stronger, will he still want to go with me?  I would love hike the entire VA section of the AT one summer.  As of right now, it’s looking like he’s the only family member that might find that fun.  We’ll see.

Day 28 Girls’ Weekend

 

 

 

 

This spring, Alissa reached out to three of us who have girls the same age about planning a weekend getaway together.  Other people who heard about it assumed we were going to have “the talk,” but I think we’ve all already given it in one way or another.  Really we just wanted to get together to chat, eat, run, swim, hike, and let our big kids have fun hanging out.  We ended up in a little Airbnb on the Shenandoah River with way too much food for just one weekend.

Day 29 Hike

All the moms:  Time to go on a hike!  Yay!

All the girls:  Noooooooooooo…..

All the moms:  We’re going anyway.  Get your shoes on.

Despite their whining, we hiked the Hightop Peak Trail, a 3 mile out-and-back on the AT that you get to from the Shenandoah National Park.  The view at the top ended up making it worth it, even for the kids.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 30 Run Surprise

 

 

 

 

The cabin where we stayed was surrounded by beautiful farm land and an event space.  Both mornings, Alissa and I went out for a five mile run along the corn fields.  This morning as we were rounding the corner of one of the barns, we saw a guy sitting down taking a smoke break.  I tried to act like I didn’t see him because we weren’t sure if we should even be there, but apparently Alissa didn’t look away.  And she got an eye full of nekked lady!  We spent much of the rest of the run trying to figure out why she was there in the first place.  Were they the newlywed couple from the night before?  Limo driver and guest?  Owners?  Who knows.  Whoever they were, they certainly weren’t expecting us to come trotting around that corner in the middle of nowhere.

We were crazy hot when we got back, so jumping in the river in our shorts and sports bras seemed like the right thing to do.  Eventually everyone else joined us…until they saw a snake in the water!  Not being a 6 (look…I’ve learned something about the Enneagram!), I decided I wasn’t worried about it, and I stuck with my plan of swimming across the river and back while Rachel paddled along beside me.  The snakes stayed away.

 

I’m so incredibly thankful for this weekend that we had away.  No spreadsheets, no little people, no drama….it was perfect.  Here’s to conquering all the hard parts of middle school together.

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.