Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SOL - Day 31 - Sweet Surprise

After my horrible morning yesterday and long day of STAAR testing, I was surprised by this little message left for me by one of the students. Their teacher had her baby yesterday so I was asked to fill in and what they write was just oh too sweet!  photo 33C533C7-E3A7-46FA-A4BE-7476C75CB42D_zpshebvfylv.jpg

Monday, March 30, 2015

SOL- Day 30 - Tears & Tea

So, when I left Friday, I had my STAAR testing assignment all set. I was prepared for my small group and then Sunday night comes... around 9:30 pm my phone starts blowing up with texts and phone calls...from my AP and Principal. I was immediately alarmed when I came out of my shower to this flurry of activity. As it turns out, one of our 4th grade teachers, who is pregnant, was going into labor and would not be able to test the next day. So, I was called up. Ah! I need to the Writing Section again (I was supposed to administer the 5th grade reading!) and make notes. Of course I did not sleep well. I wanted to get to school super early to discuss and be prepared for the day. My daughter and I were up and ready by 6:40 and headed to Starbucks for a refreshing green tea to enlighten my day. When we came out of Starbucks though...my car turned on but it didn't start. So, I turned it off and tried again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. What on earth? I am starting to panic... I call my husband and he has no idea what it could be. "We need to tow it to the dealership," he says. I don't have for a two! I have to give the STAAR test this morning. No, I was just going to leave it and take care of it later. I called my assistant principal and she said she would come and get me. Meanwhile, my husband is furious that I am going to "just leave my car there." Then the tears start! Stop screaming at me! I yelled. Then, I hung up the phone with him and my daughter started to tear up as well..tick-toc-tick-toc...there goes my "preparation" time! I told her to gather her things. My AP would be here any minute to get us. Then, I said "Let me try just one more time." OMG! The car started. Needless to say, this is not the way I wanted my morning to go but it all turned out alright in the end. We had a good day today and let's just pray my car starts to go home!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

SOL- Day 29 - Leadership

This year I have moved to a new school and a new position. It is a little overwhelming to not know a single person but I have always been an extrovert...so I wasn't worried. It became apparent very quickly that my principal was a mover and a shaker. By that I mean, she talks fast, has lots of ideas, and even more questions. At times it can be intimidating but more so I find it inspiring. She is someone I look up to and admire. Her ability to see the big picture and pick out details I hadn't even thought of is a quality I aspire to. Whether she knows it or not, she has pushed me. I find myself wanting to impress her and challenging myself to think even more outside the box than usual. I'm grateful for her openness and willingness to talk things through with me. I feel that I can reach out to her at anytime. I have had the opportunity to work with many great principals. I have followed principals from school to school and taught grade levels I never thought I would teach, just to be under their direction. And the trend continues...I would follow her too (not that anyone is going anywhere mind you!)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

SOL - Day 28 - Anniversary

Today is my anniversary. I'm looking forward to a day where I can focus on my husband and family. I have put them on the backburner these past couple of weeks with work projects and I miss them! I see them everyday but I haven't been really seeing them if you know what I mean. My husband was my very first "boyfriend" back in 6th grade! I still have the note where he asked me "to go with him". I also have the note where he broke up with me! We had a lot of life experiences before we were reunited some 15 years later but here we are! As he likes to say...he was my first boyfriend AND my last!

Friday, March 27, 2015

SOL - Day 27 - Unexpected

for the past three or so weeks, I have been tutoring a group of 5th graders each morning before school in preparation for STAAR. Honestly, when my principal asked me to..I was not excited about getting up so early and I hadn't worked with the 5th graders at my school so I didn't have any relationships there. I'm not a morning person so being there that early and being "on" was a struggle at times. We talked a lot, discussed many different topics, learned some words together and even had some debates about slavery and year round school. In these few weeks I definitely became attached to these kids. I believe in them and wish them all the best. I hope our time together helped them and that they are successful in reaching their STAAR goals. I didn't expect to become so attached and I can even go as far as saying I will miss them next Monday morning. I have several new friends though. It feels good to hear them call my name and wave when they see me in the hall. So unexpected...but I'll take it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SOL - Day 26 - Some Like It Hot

I like it when you are hot. Not just hot, scalding. My skin turns red at the first touch. I flinch at your first touch. But I won't have it any other way. You beckon me. I think of you often and anticipate our time together. Our uninterrupted time. You are a gift and I treasure you. Thank you my bath.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SOL - Day 25 - iMovie

Yes, yet another STAAR post! I am trying to do an inspirational video for the kids in anticipation of writing STAAR...trying to work in iMovie but I have never used it before and it is taking me FOREVER! I don't feel good at this and I am tired! I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SOL- Day 24 - One track mind

I'm on a one track mind this week! STAAR, STAAR, STAAR! I'm tutoring before school for STAAR, have Writing Camp going on all week, and am doing yet some more tutoring after school. I'm tired. The kids are tired. But... we can't let that interfere! Oh no! It is ON baby! Bring it on STAAR! We are ready for you...see we can make test prep fun...just look at us! But, I apologize...I feel you may have more STAAR posts in your future!  photo 0C7FAA9C-8A30-48E9-B4B8-0913B902AF85_zpsuq7gnulm.jpg

Monday, March 23, 2015

SOL - Day 23 - Game On!

 photo 19024B77-6B2F-4FFC-9DF6-20EECFC3F755_zpszwt3ebjv.jpg It's Game On time for 4th grade writing camp and I couldn't be more excited! Today after school, some of the 4th grade teachers and I went to Academy to buy our "gear" for the week. During this week of review for STAAR, the students will rotate through the teachers to focus on specific TEKS. We have... "Let's Hit a Homerun with Personal Narratives" "Racing Towards Writing Success" "Tackling Sentence Revisions" and "Volley, Set...Write!" As we were having fun running through Academy, I had a "moment." A moment of feeling truly grateful that I have this opportunity to work with these teachers. No matter what the scores say when they come back (and I know they will be great!) I do know that this has been a game changing year for my school in writing and I am proud to have been part of it! Game on Golbow!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SOL - Day 22 - 'Twas the Week Before STAAR

Yes, it's here...and it will fly by...I already know! I feel calm and at peace about it actually. When I look back at this year, I know we are ready for this Writing STAAR. I hope this review week is a fun, inspiring and confidence building time for the students. They have had excellent instruction and now it is in their capable hands. I will pray for these students that they have the stamina and patience to show their full potential on this test. The growth they have already shown is heartwarming and I am so proud of these 4th graders!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SOL - Day 21- Rain Rain Go Away

This rain is making me feel so blah and unproductive! I'm ready for sunshine, picnics, swimming, and watermelon! Not being able to be outside gives me the perfect excuse to do all the tasks on my plate including writing a grant and revamping my resume but instead I feel even less compelled! I'm sure I'll wait until Sunday night and then stay up late but honestly under pressure is when I get some of my best work done! Now if I could just stop worrying about it in the meantime!

Friday, March 20, 2015

SOL - Day 20 - Resume

I have been wanting to revamp my resume for months now...but I keep procrastinating about it! What is up with that?! I have been pinning resumes and researching resumes and doing everything BUT working on MY actual resume. Writing is my specialty but for some reason I get writer's block when it comes to telling about my accomplishments.

Anyone else out there have this problem? Anyone want to revamp my resume for me????

This resume is getting done one way or another this weekend. It. Must. Happen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SOL - Day 19 - Back to school...again???

This morning at our faculty meeting, our assistant principal shared her journey with us about how she became an educator. I was very moved by her entire story but one moment in particular stuck out to me. She only made mention of it once in passing but it caught my attention. She had participated in a leadership program at the prestigious Rice University. During my lunch, I couldn't help but to look up the program. I have all the qualifications needed and the course work looks enticing and challenging.

Is this really happening? Am I really considering going back to school...yet again? I already went back for my Master's. Then again for my Principalship. I haven't even paid off all the student loans yet!

Honestly, it is a no-brainer. I would go back in a heartbeat (if I was accepted of course) if it weren't for the money. Is this the best use of my family's money at this time in our lives? Haven't I already used enough of our resources to go back to school in the past?

Time will tell I guess (although the deadline is approaching). I feel that this is fate a little bit. That I was meant to her that speech this morning that made me aware of this program that I didn't even know existed. Hmmmm..... what to do, what to do...............

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SOL -Day 18 - GT

My daughter is in Kindergarten this year and she is loving school. She has always loved "school" - pre-K and even before that! She has always been a fast learner, very inquisitive and an avid reader. So, we had her tested for GT. I'm new to the district and not very familiar with the testing process. Even though I have been a GT teacher in my two previous districts, my new district does some things differently. I really wasn't sure if she would qualify or not but I wanted to see. As it turns out, she does qualify and now has the label of "GT". When I found out, I was proud and excited for her because I believe she needs those services.

When I tell close friends and family, the responses have been varied and somewhat surprising to be honest. Some have said, "Well you are a teacher so of course she is." or "You have been "teaching" her since she was born. She has an advantage having a mother who is a teacher." I have also heard from family members..."GT,  is that even a real thing?" "So, she is smart. Lots of people are smart."

I guess it will be an interesting journey for all us and we will figure it out on the way!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SOL - Day 17- All that is Green

Ode to All that is Green

Oh how I love thee...
Sweet & spicy little pickles
The pecan tree in our backyard
Emerald earrings with my black hair as a background
fresh, crunchy salad greens
cucumbers with cream cheese
Granny Smith apples
baby turtles hatching on the beach
My mom's eyes looking into mine

Monday, March 16, 2015

SOL - Day 16- Tired

How is it already 9:43? It was so hard to get up this morning and we were only off for one week! Today was a great first day back although I was at school until after 6 working and I see many more long days in the near future. It will all be worth it though!

Until tomorrow SOL...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

SOL- Day 15 - Dear SOL,

Dear SOL Challenge,

I am grateful to you for so many reasons and we are only half way in. You have been on my mind and want to take this time to express my gratitude and to tell you how I feel about you.

1. I love that several of my co-workers are participating with me. Reading about their lives has given me an insight I would not have had otherwise. I am in awe of their writing styles, different from each other yet distinct. Their writing styles reflect their personalities and it has been a joy to read their blogs. Also, I have the utmost respect for them taking you on at such a busy time of the year. If it were not for you my dear challenge, I would not feel closer to these women that I work with on a daily basis and for that I am grateful.

2. You have made me more aware of my daily life. I am constantly looking for those small moments that inspire me to write. I don't always find them but because of you I do write about something anyways. You have brought personal writing back to my daily life and for that I am grateful.

3. Speaking of personal writing, I must admit that although I have written on my blog each day I have not always been giving it my all. Sometimes, it is because I haven't been inspired. Sometimes, it is because I don't have the time that day. But mostly, it is because I have been writing someplace else. Yes, challenge you have inspired me to renew my writing in my daughter's journal. You see when my daughter was born, I started a journal for her. I would write her a letter each day telling her my feelings, the story of her birth, things she did that day. As time has passed, my journal writing to her has become less frequent. You might have challenged me to write on my blog everyday but I challenged myself to write to her everyday. So far I am succeeding in both! For that dear challenge, I am grateful.

4. As I wrote about in a previous blog, I have a fear of spending money and had been sitting on my MacBook savings for going on 4 months now. Thanks to you and the need to write everyday, I finally bit the bullet. I am writing to you from my new laptop and couldn't be happier. For that, I am grateful.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

SOL - Day 14 - ID TV

I have a confession. I am addicted to ID TV, Dateline...all of those who dun it shows! I get sucked in. I am always intrigued to find the who, the why, and the how they got caught. My husband hates that I watch these shows! He doesn't see the appeal at all. He even sometimes jokes, "You're not getting any ideas are you?" And I joke back...of course not because these people ALWAYS get caught. It might be 10 or 20 years down the road but these investigators are good!

The stories are so sad and unimaginable. They bring out my biggest fears but nonetheless there I am watching. Apparently I'm not the only one either because the number of these kind of crime shows are growing and growing. Any of you out there ID TV addicts like me?

Friday, March 13, 2015

SOL - Day 13 - WDW

So this Spring Break has been yucky! No sun, too much rain...cold!!!! To make matters worse, every time I get on Facebook I see more pictures of my friends and their kids at Disney World. i swear at least 6 families we know spent their Spring Break in the happiest place on Earth. I must admit, I am jealous! Really, really jealous.

So, the conversation has started though and it is exciting. She will be 7 when we finally go and we think that is the perfect time! Now just deciding when... should we spend New Year's Eve there? next Spring Break? next summer?

I found myself up until midnight last night on Pinterest...reading everything I could! It will cost a small fortune but I'm excited. I never went to Disney as a child so it feels good to be able to take mine! Watch out Disney! We are coming!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

SOL - Day 12 - Rodeo

I feel so lucky to live in Houston, Texas! I truly love this city and all it has to offer. But, I really love it when it is Rodeo time! This is a tradition the entire city embraces! I must say though each year it seems to become more difficult to buy good seats to the shows at affordable prices - it feels like you have to have an "in" to do that- and parking and navigating getting there becomes more cumbersome.

So this year we are just going to the carnival, which my daughter is still super excited about! I will try to focus on the memories we will make together today instead of what I feel we are missing out on. Ferris wheel, here we come!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SOL - Day 11 - Servant Leadership

It might be Spring Break but today I spent the day at school. Why oh why would I do that? Well, our Instructional Coach has been working hard with our 5th graders...working with them to build confidence, to turn them into lifelong readers and to show them that reading can be fun! So she wanted to surprise the 5th graders with some new inspiring decor and a graffiti wall in some fun colors.

I feel so lucky to get to work and learn from her. She inspires me with her servant leadership! There is no place I would rather be than helping her make her vision come to life!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SOL- Day 10- Trinity the Texter

For Christmas, I got a new IPhone. So, we decided to give my 6-year-old daughter Trinity my old phone to play games with since she doesn't have any other kind of device. So up until this point, that is what she has done...watch Netflix, play dress up games, even read books...

But last night, I went out with a friend for a movie and coffee and here comes the texting...

 photo 987C29B8-6523-478D-B41F-C11C2F4E8B97_zps7yvdhbdp.png
 I must admit I was impressed with her spelling and use of emoji's! When did this happen though???! She is growing up too quickly. I have to admit, it felt good to be missed!

Monday, March 9, 2015

SOL - Day 9 - Fashion, Fashion, Fashionista...

Day 1 of Spring Break and what do I spend my day doing? Organizing my 6-year-old daughter's room...changing clothes out from winter to spring/summer. We have been so blessed to have people in our lives that have given us hand-me-downs but now I find myself drowning in her clothes.

This little fashionista must change clothes at least 4 times day! Being the only child at home, she plays a lot of make believe...teacher, American Idol, Barbie etc. and she needs a new outfit to go with the theme each time of course. Even if we are watching a movie, she needs an outfit appropriate for that genre.

The problem is not that she changes clothes alot or loves to experiment with them, it is....what she does with the ones she is not wearing anymore. Do we think this precious little kindergardener is hanging these clothes back up? Putting them right back where they belong???? Ummmm...NO!

Then it becomes a battle...you can't do this until you clean this up kind of thing. As for me, I am constantly looking for better and easier ways to organize. Most days though, I honestly just want to bag everything up and donate it to Goodwill.

I know this is just a season in our life and she will become more responsible and yada yada yada.... but until then I think I will just put a lock on her door so she can't get to her clothes and therefore cannot change clothes and therefore there will be no mess. ;)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

SOL- Day 8 - Blended Families

I had my very first boyfriend in 6th grade. I remember it vividly... what he looked like, how he sounded, the shy way about him. I even still had the folded note where he asked me "to go with him".

So when we were reunited almost 20 years later, through My Space of all places, we had an instant connection. We were both newly divorced and not really looking but nonetheless...there we were, falling in love.

So when the time came to meet his two children, I was nervous, excited and overwhelmed. Even though we have been married for 7 years now, I often still feel those exact same emotions when I see them. 

These last 8 years have been a series of ups and downs, trial and error, and a testimony in patience.

So it feels more than amazing when we have a great weekend together as a family, like we did this weekend. 

It makes me think about that term blended though...will we ever be truly blended? What does that even mean?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

SOL- Day 7 - YMCA

Years upon years have finally caught up with me
Making the choice to lead a healthier lifestyle
Committed to being a role model for my daughter
Accepting responsibility and joined the Y today!

Friday, March 6, 2015

SOL- Day 6 - National Oreo Day

Happy National Oreo Day!

Honestly, until just this year… I didn’t even know there was such a day! As I have moved to a new school and a new role, I have had the pleasure of working with my principal to plan staff appreciation days. This is one of the things I enjoy most!
Today I set up a variety of Oreos…double stuff, chocolate, golden, mint, and the favorite of the day…birthday cake! It seemed as if teachers enjoyed the cookies and milk treat right before Spring Break. I have also learned a lot through the process about budgeting, purchase orders, and estimating! So there is still time left…if you want to partake in the Oreo madness!

 photo 754D98C5-4970-47A9-973D-4023DF5A08B2_zpsa7zu6blg.jpg  photo F0E2CC42-9D99-4CED-BA87-8D2AE48E7962_zpsesk9wxhe.jpg

Thursday, March 5, 2015

SOL - Day 5 - The Cold

Go away.
You have overstayed your welcome.
My body cringes at the very thought of you.
You are a tease.
Please pack your things and go.
For good this time.
My sincerest thanks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SOL- Day 4 - And the winner is...

Cowboy hats, jeans and boots to match...students, teachers and administrators were dressed in their festive Rodeo day attire. This is quite a normal tradition in our Texas schools...when the rodeo rolls into town you know Go Rodeo Day will be coming soon.

This year, I was in for a treat though...something I had never experienced in any of the 9 schools or 3 districts I have previously taught in. A staff Chili Cook-off! I have to admit that when I first heard this was a well-loved tradition at my new school, I was underwhelmed. All of this happening 3 weeks before STAAR felt like one more thing to do. So, to be honest...I opted to pay money, bring in some crackers and leave the creativity and cooking to the rest of my team.

I was not prepared for the excitement in the air this morning. Every one was decorating and preparing and looking forward to the upcoming chili tastings later in the day. I also got really excited once I saw what my team had come up with for decorations. Our chili name was, "Time out for Chili." Our table had a sports theme with a referee in the back with a whistle around the neck. So creative!

I also enjoyed the camaraderie it provided. At lunch times, teachers ate together in the library...trying all the different chili's and catching up on personal lives. We don't ever get the time to do that it seems! I was impressed with how much creativity there is in my school and how much pride these teams took in their concoctions.

And to top it off, at the end of the day our principal got on the loudspeaker and announced to the entire school... Best Decorations goes to... Mamacitas Just a Chili'n (that's my team by the way!) AND...drum roll please......... The Golden Spoon Award for Best Chili goes to.... yep, you guessed it!

I might not have had much to do with this chili day but I'm still part of the team! I sure am lucky to have surrounded myself with such creative and hard working people!

 photo ECCA95AD-646D-4C0D-B512-0959DF1FE516_zpsygv4tobn.jpg

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SOL - Day 3 -Discombobulated

In our team leader book study we have been reading The 15 Laws of Growth by John Maxwell. As I have been reading and responding to our discussions, I have become aware of the fact that I keep talking about balance...the lack of it between work and my home life. I know it will never be equal but I would like more of a balance. I often put my work ahead of my daughter and family.

So, I have consciously made an effort to leave school earlier to follow through with the commitments I have made not only to my family but also to my health, in terms of exercising more. I must say that is has not had the intended effect on me!

I find myself worrying more, scatter-brained, and not feeling as  focused. I find myself thinking that maybe this wasn't the best time in the school year (right before STAAR) to start making these new changes. We all know that there is never a "right" time though. If something is important to you then sometimes you just have to take the plunge.

This brings me back to finding balance...I'm still looking...do you have any suggestions?
For tonight, I think a hot bath is in order and trying to get some actual sleep! Tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

SOL - Day 2 - It's All About the Benjamins

I wish I could say that it doesn't affect me... that I don't let it into my life on a daily basis. But I do.
Not only does it creep in but it has a hold on me and often keeps me from getting what I want.

Especially when it comes to money!
Our income tax came in and my husband and I had already agreed we would buy a new refrigerator. One that doesn't make a loud blaring sound every 30 minutes or so. So, we have been looking, and looking and looking. 

So many questions...

What color do you want?
Two door?
Freezer on bottom or on top?
Water dispenser?
Door inside a door?

Ahhh! I don't know! How much is that? How much is it without that? What is guiding all my questions is FEAR! I'm scared to spend that much money!

Thank goodness for my husband, who is logical and level headed (most of the time). We finally found...the one! I felt a literal weight off my shoulders that the decision had been made and I could move on the enjoyment of it.

Now if I could just convince myself to buy the new laptop I have been saving for since last November. The money is just sitting in my bank account...but fear is stopping me...what if we need the money for some unimaginable thing???

But, this challenge is actually helping move past that fear, as I sit here at my husband's computer while he is watching me waiting to get on. Wouldn't it have been great if I had taken the plunge and bought myself the computer I have been working for? There is a lesson to be learned here.

 photo F67604A8-3BCF-448C-9069-706526B18113_zpskqf6ks6v.jpg

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SOL- Day 1- A Magical Mood Lift

As we sit at Uberrito eating dinner silently, the gray clouds and looming rain are the perfect backdrop for our moods. Our Saturday has been spent running errands in the freezing cold that none of us really wanted to do and our six-year-old's many mini-fits have made the day even more grueling. My husband is shoveling in his burrito bowl like he is an inmate at a prison, while my daughter dips a chip in queso and then lays down on the seat so as not to be seen. I am picking at my shrimp feeling full and already needing a to-go box when it happens....

"Trinity, sit up and look!" She doesn't even attempt to move. Then I raise my voice, "Get up now before you miss it!"

As I watch her look out the window, her entire aura changes. Her eyes brighten, her smile pushes up her red cheeks and there is a sense of awe in her stillness. "Do you want to go say hi?" I ask.

We rush to the door so that we don't miss them. "Excuse me, can we take a picture?" "Of course!" they exclaim. As Trinity huddles in the middle, Elsa, Aurora, Ariel and Cinderella gather around her. "Thank you so much," I say. "You all must be freezing. Where are you going?"

"To Starbucks," they reply. Ah! Of course, I should have known. Where else would four Disney princesses be going? As we turned to head to the car, something in us had changed. We had just witnessed something unexpected and magical and it turned our frowns upside down.

It also reminded me that even though my little girl seems to be growing up and becoming more mature each and every day, there is still a little girl in there who believes. On the way home she asked, "What if those princesses weren't real?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, what if they were girls just dressed up in costumes?" she asked with a concerned look on her face.
"Well, what if they were?"
"Well they aren't but I was just wondering, what if..." she said.

That's right baby girl. Hold on, for just a little bit longer. Reality will be there waiting for you soon enough.

 photo 1BCE5F53-823B-485A-8D6E-5ECFF12AD004_zpssokl67qs.jpg