Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Week (or so) in Pictures

There has been so much going on. I am ever so grateful to be on winter break. It would be awesome if it would go as slowly as possible.

11 Days ago, we put down our 10 year old dog and I cried so much. I have lost pets before but Morgan was not just a pet. He was family. We had him since he was a puppy. We were his only owners except the people who owned his mama.  I miss him so much. 
 This is one of my favorite pictures of him. It was the spring of 2012 at our cabin.  I was going through a REALLY rough time in my life and just about to publish my book. Our other dog, Hershey, was only a puppy still. Morgan was not his biggest fan so when Hershey had this stick, Morgan took it and moved to the other side of the yard where Hershey couldn't follow (because Hershey was on a tie out and Morgan wasn't). Then he just laid there like the boss of the applesauce. It was hilarious.

We had Morgan cremated and the pet cemetery made a paw print memorial for us. This past week I went to pick up his cremains and keepsake and the tears came as soon as I saw this. It is beautiful. In theory, one could use it as an ornament but we are not. Thank goodness too since our cat has decided the tree is hers....I would be heartbroken if she accidentally knocked it out and it broke.

The week of December 8 at school was really rough. My grade level partner was out since Thanksgiving break with a mystery illness and I was trying hard to balance my class, help his subs and keep things together. Then Morgan died and things were just really, really hard.

This past week, the angels smiled down on me and it was soooooo much better. I had a small class all week since two kids went to Mexico for the holidays and another was out sick all week.It's amazing how 2-3 kiddos being gone can make such a difference in the atmosphere of a classroom -- just less bodies can really alter the day.

I have learned over the years to keep the week before a break as academic as possible. Especially for these kiddos -- many of them behave really poorly before a break because school is the only real structure they have (knowing what to do when, etc). So we were academic all day every day except for our holiday program on Thursday afternoon and our holiday celebration on Friday afternoon.

We made melted snowman ornaments to take home. How super cute did these turn out?

In the interest of keeping things academic, between Thanksgiving break and winter break, we worked on research. The kiddos all got a topic and we went through the whole process. They finished them up this week and made a cover for their report. This friend's report was on sharks and this is the cover he made -- look at the fish's eyes. He has a look like "oh, crap!" hehe We got lots of giggles out of this one. It's so darn funny.

In lieu of classroom parties this year (well, we *did* make the ornaments), one of our local community partners provided a school-wide celebration for us on Friday. They provided cookies, cupcakes and hot chocolate for EVERY child. All of the kiddos also got to go home with one of these cute (and soft!) blankets! They have our school mascot screen printed onto them. So awesome. We are very, very lucky to have so many community businesses who have adopted our school and make awesome things happen for our kids. There were enough left that Mr. Principal made sure all of the staff got one too if we wanted one ♥

Finally, this charming little lady turned the big 1-2 yesterday! 364 days and she'll be a TEENAGER. Oh.My.Goodness.

I am ever so grateful to be on break. It's a busy one every year as we have The Youngest's birthday (seen above), Christmas, our anniversary (the 28th) and then New Year's. I'm excited to be mostly staying home and relaxing this break. No big plans this year and I'm good with that. I expect to spend multiple days not even leaving my house....and that is just fine with me. 

After all that has been going on in the last month or so, plus grad school, I am more than ready for a break -- just to read, relax, play games, see the small people who share my house. I do have a little school work to do (grading mostly) but that can wait until after my anniversary. I plan to spend the first 10 days of my break just being me. I think I deserve it.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy and Sad

About a month ago, I got an invitation to go to Lansing Dec 8-9 for the Network of Michigan Educators banquet and Innovative Schools Conference.

It was really awesome to be in a room of NBCTs and other exemplary teachers since I don't always feel like my gifts are being appreciated where I am. The conference was awesome and I have a million ideas spinning in my head of things I want to do and grants I would like to secure.

Unfortunately I got home yesterday afternoon to find my 10 year old pooch,  Captain Morgan (yes that is really his name) very ill and not well. We had to make the decision to put him down. I did not plan on being out from school again today but with amazing colleagues and a very understanding principal, we made it happen.

I have never cried so much and so hard. My poor buddy was miserable this morning. Except for his momma's owner we have been the only family he has known since he was 7 weeks old. He was a best friend, a protector and a constant in our lives.

I have never put down a dog before. The animal hospital we took him to did an amazing job making him comfortable so he could go in peace. I was the last thing he saw and felt and I am grateful he passed on to a place where nothing can hurt him anymore.

There is an ache in my heart and Christmas will be so hard without him. You never really think about how much your pet is like your child until this. I can only be comforted in knowing we gave him a good life and he was happy here.

RIP MoMo August 2004 - December 10, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Saturday

What do you think of when you think of Saturday?

Relaxation? Doing nothing? Spending time with the small people who may share your house with you? 

I'm sure if I asked you what you think of when you think of Sunday, your list would mirror mine: laundry, house keeping you haven't had time to take care of all week, lesson planning, grading, etc etc. 

But Saturday is supposed to be for relaxing. Right?

Not so when you're a graduate student in an online cohort. All of our big papers are due on Saturdays. I often spend the vast majority of Saturday working on the paper because I just don't have enough hours in the day during the week to do much with them on top of the smaller assignments we have spread throughout the week and trying to acknowledge the no-so-small-anymore people who live with me. (At this point, I just pray my children understand I'm doing this never-ending school thing to benefit their future as well as my own.) 

This is how my Saturday night is looking....
I may weigh 300 lbs by the time this degree is over -- see all that naughty food on my desk??

Instead of being out partying, spending time with friends or family, this is what I am doing. Exciting, right? *wink*

Alas, the end IS in sight. When I hit the "submit" button tonight, I will be D-O-N-E until January 4 when my new winter course begins. An entire month off from doing double duty. I am ever so grateful because I kind of miss spending real time with my family! 

Sorry my blog is nothing uber exciting these days...between things at school (that I am not going to go into publicly), working so hard on this course (if all goes well, I will finish the course with 100%) and trying to balance my family obligations, I am wiped.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What a week!

It's not even over but it's been a week for the record books. Wow.

Sub shortages really stink. I'm just gonna put that out there. Getting 4-6 children from another class because there is no sub stinks even more.

I am SO drained. Whew. One more day. I can do this! :)

My graduate classes end Sunday as well. THANK YOU LORD for small things in life...because I don't know if I could keep going after this week. It's been a long one.

As I was moving a few things around and cleaning up in my classroom today before going home, I was sorting the massive pile I need to grade and came across one friend's writing. She is a resource student and often misses a good part of writing instruction so she doesn't do our Paragraph of the Week with us and writes a story or something else instead. She is a really slow processor and her language skills are lacking big-time so getting her to write voluntarily is always a plus.

Then I noticed what she wrote.
"Mrs. Wood is the beautiful woman in the classroom. She is funny too. She gives me a snack." 

What a sweetie!