Sunday, August 30, 2009

I keep meaning to sit down and write about all of the things running laps through my head, but at the end of the day I am just too exhausted.  Since it has been a week, this will probably be long, so thank you ahead of time for you patience!

Where to start...... how about with school?  This week my students' personalities have really begun to shine, and as they do I am discovering many new things about them.  I am learning who loves to talk and be social, who is more quite and reserved, and who is really going to push me to be a better teacher.  I have one student in particular that I feel God is going to use to show me how to really reach out in love and touch a life.  I know this student is going to present many challenges this year and test the boundaries of my patience.  As my pastor was preaching this morning I felt God tugging at my heart to pray for this student and my attitude towards them.  This week I am going to go the extra mile for this student.  I am looking forward to seeing how the Lord will work on my heart and reveal new ways for me to become a more effective teacher.

On Friday I felt as though I had a personal aid all day, and maybe that is because I did.  Since my sister Jenna is here visiting this week I thought it would be fun for her to come in and meet my class.  She was able to spend the entire day with me, and it made for a really special day!  Jenna read a story to the kids and answered many questions during a Q & A session.  The students loved meeting her and spending time with her.  They were fascinated by how tall and beautiful she is.  While I was teaching she was busy grading the papers I let pile up this week.  I think she saved me about two hours worth of grading.  Too bad I can't have her around everyday!

While my baby sister was here I wanted to take her wedding dress shopping.  What a fun day it was.  We started our day at a small local bridal salon called Mia's.  Trying on wedding dresses is like a real-life princess experience, and every girls dream.  We were ushered into a room full of beautiful wedding dresses to select the ones that Jenna would like to try.  Each dress made her face light up and I could tell with every dress we slipped on her she felt more and more like a princesses.  After trying on several gorgeous gowns, we may have found the dress for her.  I would describe it as well as post pictures, but Brady might be reading this, and of course the dress has to stay a surprise.  The wedding is still a ways away, so she will keep looking, but I am thrilled I was able to be a part of helping my baby sister find her dress.
Jenna and I out to lunch between wedding dress appointments!
My time this weekend with Jenna was super special, and it made me realize how much I cherish our friendship and spending girl time together.  I also came to the realization that I did not take advantage of spending enough time with her while we were living in the same town.  Sisters are special, and I feel so lucky to have one.  This weekend was a reminder from God not to take advantage of our relationship.  Even though we are family I am learning that I need to set aside time to work on continually building and strengthening my relationship my sister.

This week I am looking forward to a couple of things starting up this week.  The first is Boot Camp!  I know I might be crazy, but I love the intense workouts with fellow teachers in the outdoors.  This will also help with preparing for the half-marathon I signed myself up for in October. 

The second thing I am looking forward to starting a women's bible study on Tuesday.  Since I have moved away from my friends and family I have been searching for a way to get plugged in and meet new people.  My heart has been a little lonely for some girlfriends, and I am looking forward to meeting some new women to forge friendships with as well as diving into the Word.

All in all it should be a good week with lots of things to look forward to! I'll be back soon to let you know how it's all going.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

I thought to keep things interesting I would make a list of my favorite things while updating you on what is going on in our lives lately. Hope you enjoy it!

1.) Teaching. Going back to school this week has been wonderful. So far, I absolutely adore my new class. They each have such sweet personalities and bring so much to our room. My boys are especially adorable and little. My favorite quote from this week was on the first day made by one of my boys. "Mrs. Dean, I think my desk is too big for me." This statement is true because when most of my boy put their arms up on their desks their arms are almost at their chin!

2.) Football. I am so happy that football is back and I love having close friends to keep an eye out for. Each week we check up on how Kyle is doing, and it is fun to see how well the NFL is going for him so far. One of my favorite things is watching football while I do my lesson plans for the week! MNU kicked off the weekend with their first scrimmage. So far, they are looking pretty good.

3.) Coffee. Especially a homemade vanilla latte with extra foam. I think the picture says enough.

4.) Adorable coffee mugs. Just ask Stinson, I have way too many and have to rotate through them!

5.) Baking. Here is just a few of the 50+ apple cookies I made last weekend. Yes, they tasted delicious!

6.) My husband and spoiling him on his birthday. I am so lucky to have a husband who loves me so much and encourages me all the time. Although I haven't seen much of him lately due to both of our crazy schedules, I love sharing all about my day and kiddos with him as well as hearing about what is going on in his world of football.

These are just a few of my favorite things.... there are so many more, but I think I've said enough.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

As the school bell rings

One of my new favorite things is when I check my email every morning the first thing I see is K-LOVE's encouraging word. Each morning I hear God whispering a new truth, or maybe one that I have not thought about in a while, to my heart. The verse from Thursday really spoke to me and challenged me, so I would like to share it with you.
"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
" Psalm 23:6, NLT One of my favorite images of God is as the pursuer. The romantic in me feels at peace knowing that my Savior is willing to go to great lenghts to demonstrate His love for me, and that He will never stop pursuing me.

Soon the halls of my school will be filled with the sounds of students. I cannot wait for this new school year to begin. I feel I am more excited than I was last year, and I think it may be due to the fact that I know what to expect. I have had no first day of school nightmares haunting me at night, which is such a relief! A new year means a fresh start and a new group of students to find a special place in my heart.

Thursday was our Open House and Curriculum night. My new class came with their parents to find a home for all of their school supplies, and check out our room as well as meet me. I was able to meet all but two of my students, and each one of them is adorable! I am looking forward to learning so much more about each one of them. I have several students, both boys and girls, that love school and can't wait to start learning new things. This love for learning is so refreshing, and I hope that it will be a contageous attitude in my classroom this year.

My students come with wonderful parents, who are very supportive and eager to be involved in our room. I am looking forward to our partnership that will be crutical to their child's success in 4th grade. The Lord has truly blessed me by placing me where I am to begin my teaching career.

One of my favorite parts of Open House was seeing some of my students from last year. Oh how some of them have grown over the summer. Seeeing their faces brought back wonderful memories from last year. I realized after reuniting with them just how much I missed them. They all promised to come back and visit, and that they would not forget about me now that they are big, bad, 5th graders! As each one dropped by for a hug I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and pride in each of them and how they have matured over the summer. I love being a teacher becauase I have been given the gift of touching lives and being a part of something that is truly special, watching children blossum and grow into wonderful people.

Here are some pictures of my room. I am really loving it and cannot wait for it to be filled with 22 nine and ten year bodies that are eager to learn!

The calendar board when you first walk in the room. I promise I hung everything on the walls strait, but for some reason my camera made it look crooked.

My new cafe table! Isn't adorable? I can't wait to watch students enjoying thier favorite books, or maybe writing a great story at this table.

This is one of the areas that I like to do reading and writing lessons. It's also a spot where students can read and write. The purple chair is a favorite of the students.

My library and reading nook. I just love it! I recycled some old brown book boxes by adding a few coats of spray paint. Also, I am putting my new shelf to use, it really helped bring the room together!

My main bulliten board wall. This week students will be doing self portaits to put in the purple rectangle. I will show you the finished product later.

Their desk waiting to be filled!
I love my room, I would love to be a student in my room, and I am looking forward to all of the memories that will fill my room this year!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Random Sampling of My Life Lately

Well, summer is almost officially over, which means that it is back to school for me and life gets quite a bit busier. I am ready to go back, and super excited for this school year. I love the way my room looks and the welcoming atmosphere it has. I will be putting the finishing touches on it this week. I promise to post pictures of it so you can get an idea of what it is like to be a 4th grader in Mrs. Dean's room!

Well, it is time for phase 3 of P90X. We have decided to do the Fat Flush again as well as adding running to our workout plan in hopes of seeing even better results. Feel free to check in and see how I am doing because I think I am going to need some accountability partners. School is starting, so that means at least running and possibly the workouts, will have to happen before school. I know there will be many mornings I will not want to drag myself out of bed. Maybe, just maybe, if you ask how I am doing it will make me get out of bed in the morning! Look for pre and post P90X pictures in a month!

Friday was my last day as a summer nanny for the Simeroth boys. What a fun and action packed summer it was. I feel I really fine-tuned some of my parenting skills to use on our future children, especially if we have 3 boys. Jeff, Carson, and Andy kept me on my toes every day. We had lots of fun exploring Kansas City together and just hanging out at the pool and in the neighborhood.

A quick story about the boys that goes along with this picture. It was a hot day and we had just spent time playing at the park, so I thought it would be fun to take the boys for dip cone. Forgetting just how big these things are, I thought that a medium would be perfect. As it turns out a medium is more like a large at DQ, and let's just say it was a good thing we enjoyed these outside. Watching Andy attempt to eat his dip cone reminded me of my sister. When she was little she could never eat her dip cone before it began to melt like crazy, and she would always end up covered in ice cream. Of course this is what happened to Andy. Not two minutes into enjoying his ice cream, it started melting everywhere. At first I attempted to give him tips on how to eat it quickly and to keep it from dripping. As his hands continued to become coated in ice cream, I decided the best thing to do would be to get a cup and spoon to avoid any further mess. Guess what?! It worked!!!

I am going to miss spending time with these boys, and I hope to keep in touch with them and see them play a couple of football games.
Last week we took a trip to see Sara and Kennedy in Dallas. Originally we thought they would be in their new house, and that they would be showing it off to us. But, the whole short-sale on the house delayed the process of them getting the house. We were able to see it, and once they have put their touch on it, it will be quite a lovely home. I can't wait to go back and see it all fixed up.

Sara and Kennedy wanted to ensure that we got the full "Texas Experience" while we were there. Apparently what Texans like to do is drink, beer, smoke and float the river, all at the same time! Saturday we drove down to the Guadeloupe River to do what most people in Texas enjoy doing, floating the river. I did not know that the day would involve smoking a pack of cigarettes, or at least feeling like I did. The majority of people who float the river in Texas bring a cooler full of beer and a few packs of cigarettes. For those who choose not to participate in the drinking, those that do put on quite a show. Don't worry we were some of the few who choose the non-alcoholic version! I think maybe I am being just a tad harsh because we had a blast floating the river, and it made for a nice relaxing day. I feel like I got a good glimpse into Texas culture on our trip, and I am not sure that it is a place I am ready to live in, despite all of Sara's attempts to get us there.
Our trip was planned perfectly because while we were there so were Grandmother and Jennifer. We always enjoy spending time with them. Jennifer was busy meeting a deadline for her new book when we first arrived, but we were able to enjoy lots of time with her at the end of our stay. She gave us a snip-it of her book, and it is going to be fabulous. I can't remember what it is called, but it won't be out for a while. Speaking of her books, those of you that love her books, and those of you who have not read any of them, should check out her new book "Set Apart" coming out this month!

We're just missing Brantley and Caroline!
Before we hit the road to drive home, the DeMarques came over to BBQ and catch up on life. It is always special to see them. A special thing about Aunt Faye is that when she says something about someone getting married, etc it usually comes true within the year. Since Sara was busy all weekend coming up with a pros and cons list of why we should move to Dallas, she had Aunt Faye say that we would be moving to Dallas soon.

Who knows if it will come true. We are pretty sure that it will be at least 3 years while Stinson continues to coach for the Pioneers and start and finish grad school, but I guess you never know. I am still uncertain about my feelings towards living in Texas. I know that it would be fun because a ton of Stinson's family is there, but I can't fully wrap mind around it.

All in all, our Dallas trip was a success.

P.S. I don't really think Texas is as awful as I may have made it sound, I feel like our float trip need some dramatics to make it more interesting!