Saturday, April 02, 2011

Some things of note...

On this lazy Saturday, some things of note...
1. The public library is awesome. After hearing good things on blogs and Twitter feeds, I picked up A Homemade Life and The Hunger Games. (Side note: I just recently discovered that I can request a book from any San Jose library and they send it to the library right down the street. Before this realization, I was driving around town to different libraries to get the books I wanted. Less gas, more books.)
2. Watching Anne of Green Gables takes me back to the marathon Disney channel viewings of my youth. (Side note: I have never read Anne. Like my friend Amy, I probably need to "revoke my girl card." Perhaps my new friend the library can help?)
3. There was a smell. You know, the one that smells kind of like burning plastic. It's not just the smell of the oven self-cleaning. It is actually burning plastic. (Side note: It was a spork. On a cookie sheet. Over the oven vent. There aren't enough windows to evacuate the smell...)
4. The Giants won! They may have lost their first two games of the season (so close)...but they trounced the Dodgers today. (Side note: Buster Posey. That is all.)
5. Matt comes home from Korea on Wednesday. This is his final trip. For After three and half years and 25+ trips, I get to have my husband back all the time. (Side note: Yay!)
Happy weekend, friends. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

this is the time of year

This is the time of year that brings me stress.
It's almost April, spring break is in a few weeks and, before you know it, June has arrived and I'm a blubbering mess as I hug my kiddos good-bye.
So, rewind to that little 'before you know it' part. That's the source of the stress.
Because, despite after-school interventions, homework modifications, small-group instruction, behavior plans, conferences, parent support (or lack thereof) and a million other little things - some of my students will not be ready for second grade.
And that breaks my heart.

This is the time of year when well-intentioned individuals-in-charge decide to stop by, asking questions and commenting on my little ones.
"What's going on with that student?" (I wish I knew!)
"He misbehaves in the cafeteria everyday." (He does the same thing in class
"She doesn't know her sight words yet." (She knows 6 more than last week. Progress, right?)
"What are you doing to curb the tattling?" (They're six...there is no curbing.)
"Something needs to be done about their recess behavior." (Suggestions are welcome.)
On and on, saying things I already know and already worry about.

This is the time of year where I meet with parents for the third, fourth or eighth time to 'check in' and see how they're doing with the at-home activities I suggested at our previous meetings. And for the third, fourth or eighth time, that meeting usually ends with a shrug and an excuse from the parent and me filling out more paperwork and offering to help their child after school.

This is the time of year when I need to remind myself that I am doing my best and trying to support these students. I need to remind myself that some kiddos catch on in April or May or over the summer. I need to remind myself that even though I love my job and couldn't imagine doing anything else, I still need to make time for the people and things that I love outside the walls of my classroom.

Anything can happen in two months, right? :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

dos and don'ts

I don't fancy myself to be a 'writer'.
I don't know how to use 'our' fancy DSLR camera.
I don't craft or have an Etsy shop.
I don't have cute kiddos to photograph (yet).
I don't have a house full of flea market finds and Anthropologie doorknobs.
Sometimes, it seems that, in order to have a 'good' or 'worthwhile' blog, some combination of the above must be present.

It's been over a year since I posted on this site and it's been a doozy - full of devastating lows, hilarious highs and so much joy in between.
I remember thinking how nice it would be to be able to document and keep track of it all: the trips we took, the things my students said, the final weeks with my dad, the house projects we planned, the kitten shenanigans and everything else that makes up this life of mine.
And (duh!), I remembered that I can.
On this here blog.

Despite feeling like I'm not 'blogger-y' enough to actually have a blog, I want to use this little part of the interwebs as a scrapbook/photo album/journal of this life.
Because I do have a pretty awesome little life.
With a wonderful husband.
And an amazing and resilient family.
And a furry little kitten with 101 nicknames.
I do live in a lovely, little, work-in-progress house (primarily furnished by Target).
I do work with kiddos that encourage, amuse and frustrate - all in the span of a minute.
I do dabble in the kitchen (but also would likely die of starvation if not for Trader Joe's frozen foods aisle).
So, I'm hoping to get back in the habit of making note of the big things and little things.
Here goes...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

good-bye summer...almost. :)

one week from today, i will be done with my first day of my fourth year as a first grade teacher.
and even though i know i will be tired and wishing for lazy summer days in a few short weeks, i am so ready to get back in my room, working with kiddos and having a purpose for every day.
you see, summer is both a blessing and a curse.
at the end of the year, summer vacation (and a break from my beloved kiddos) cannot come soon enough and i anticipate all the sleeping in and free time i can enjoy. but after a few weeks, the sleeping in makes me feel lethargic and the free time seems to drag (trips to target + netflix dvds lose their appeal...who knew?). add to this a dearly missed husband who, unfortunately, had to travel for work during six of the eight weeks i had for summer break. i don't mean to complain, but after being part of a 'we' for the last five years, solo vacations just aren't as appealing.
as i have gone back to campus, the inevitable 'what did you do this summer?' question surfaces. and, with the exception of my wonderful trip to belize at the end of june and a short trip to monterey, my summer was pretty quiet. nothing big, nothing grand...just living life in everyday, regular ways.
the end of summer signals a change from my everyday, regular summer routines. it brings new challenges: a fresh school year, a classroom to decorate, lessons to prepare, twenty-plus students to meet/train/mold/teach.
i know myself and i know that in three weeks time, i will be griping to my family and friends about the crazy attitudes and wild misbehavior of my future first-grade kiddos.
but today, one week away from a new school year, i am eager and itching to get down to what i love - working with kiddos. :)

p.s can you all do me a favor when the griping commences? remind me of this wistful post about the joy of being back to work. i might need a reminder soon :)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

lazy blogger. :/ plus belize. :)

i have been remiss in posting and updating this blog.
my initial purpose for this blog was to document things as they happened, so i could go back, look on it later and remember.
as you can, that has not been done very well.
so, as a way of reintroducing myself to the blogging process, i am going to be lazy and post the contents of an e-mail i sent about a missions trip i went on to belize.
my hope is that this baby step (finally posting!!!) will motivate me to fill in the gaps from february to now. :)
for now, enjoy reading about belize...and there will be more to come.


I hope this e-mail finds you all well and enjoying your summer. It's hard to believe I've been home from Belize for almost a week and even harder to believe that just two weeks ago we were finally on our way to Crooked Tree! I just wanted to take an opportunity to share with you all about our whirlwind week where we were kept busy with opportunities to serve and show God's love to the community of Crooked Tree.
First of all, I wanted to thank you for all of your prayers – they were absolutely heard and felt. Our flights and all traveling went smoothly, our health was good (except for a case of mild dehydration and one puffy mosquito-bitten eyelid), our students stepped up and became leaders and our team worked hard all week long (despite tired and overheated bodies). It was a truly pleasure to serve and have some fun with this group of people.
Before I dive in, you all need to know that Belize is an absolutely beautiful country. We were lucky to be able to experience some of the different parts of Belize – the busy-ness of Belize City, the slower pace of Crooked Tree, the quiet calm of the jungle surrounding the Mayan ruins and the relaxed pace of island life. This country is full of such natural beauty – fruit trees everywhere, green plants, blue skies, clear waters – and I feel so blessed that I was able to see a little bit of it all.
Amidst the natural beauty and the crazy heat, we were given so many wonderful opportunities to serve and love the people of Crooked Tree. Since I don't want to write huge run-on sentences about our experience, here is a bulleted version of how we lived down in Crooked Tree. During our week-long stay, our team:
met and developed friendships with the Praying Pelican staff (Amy, Joy, Jesse and Mike) and Churchill (the elder at the Church of the Nazarene)

*slept on air mattresses (and in some cases, the floor!) in buildings on the church grounds
*ate the most fresh and delicious food prepared for us by the wonderful Carrie (chicken, rice, beef, potatoes, beans, fresh fruit, fresh fruit juice – all of it amazing)
*took cold 5-minute showers and enjoyed every single minute of it
*applied layer upon layer of sunblock and bug repellent (with DEET, of course)
*experienced nature, including cows/horses roaming the dirt roads, bats in our bedrooms, fire ants at the dinner table and frogs hiding in strange places
*drank bottle after bottle of purified water, which was necessary because...
*Belize is extremely hot and humid for us Californians and we were, to put it gently, glowing all week

Finally, and most importantly, our team was so blessed by all of the wonderful opportunities to serve and love the people of Crooked Tree in the name of Jesus. We went down there to serve them, but we all came back with stories of how the people, especially the adorable children, touched our lives as well. While we were down there, our team:
*played with children at an orphanage in Belize City (A funny story from our visit to the orphanage - for all the High School Musical fans out there, Cory (a boy on our team) reminded the little girls of Troy from the movies and they followed him around asking him about Gabrielle and asking him to sing for them. For the rest of the week, Cory was either called Troy or Zac. Funny that kids everywhere love that stuff. :))
*primed and painted the Crooked Tree Church of the Nazarene
*attended and helped lead church services with the congregation of the Nazarene Church
*cleaned up the homes and yards of elderly church members
*talked with village residents (and enjoyed the delicious goodies they shared with us – fresh mango and coconut, homemade lime juice, and lots of cashews, which are grown all over Crooked Tree)
*painted the house of an elder from a neighboring church
*led sports ministry for the children of Crooked Tree (we taught them ultimate frisbee and they taught us cricket)
*shared our personal testimonies in front of the church congregation (a BIG deal for our eighth graders, but they did an amazing job)
*helped a team from Tennessee with Vacation Bible School
*developed relationships with the adults and children of Crooked Tree (so much so that we're already considering next year's trip!)

After a busy week of hard work in the community, we were lucky enough to conclude the trip with an overnight stay on Caye (pronounced Key) Caulker, an island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea. During our brief trip, we snorkeled, saw the second largest barrier reef in the world and swam above sting rays. Some of my braver travel companions reached down and touched them. I did not, but giggled and shrieked nervously as they swam around me. Our island trip also included driving golf carts around the island, some requisite souvenir shopping, more delicious Belizean food and the luxury of air-conditioned accommodations.
Again, I want to thank you all for your support and prayers as we journeyed down to Belize. God provided for us and took care of us, so I know your faithful prayers were heard. It was an amazing trip and I will never forget the people we met, the things we did and the way of life down in Belize. I'd love to go back again, maybe next year. :)

Love, Jill

P.S. Since I was a big worrywart and didn't want to lose/break/damage my little digital camera, I brought down some disposable cameras. I was promptly made fun of by my team members (who did not worry like I did and brought their nice digital cameras) and they have promised to get pictures to me ASAP. Once I have them on a CD, I'll post them online somewhere so you can all see what we saw. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

25 random things about me :)

i think i was officially the last person on facebook to do this survey. after reading and enjoying other people's lists, here is mine for the few people who read this but are not on facebook. :)
happy friday, friends. :)


1. my pinkies are curved, like boomerangs. they amuse my husband.
2. my dad and i share the same birthday. (and even though i'm probably too old, we're going to disneyland for free to celebrate!)
3. i am in my third year of teaching first grade - and i think teaching little kiddos might stick. :)
4. almost every day for the last 2 and a half years, i have eaten a bagel, berry-ish yogurt, an apple and a diet coke for lunch. somehow, i'm not sick of it yet.
5. i love, love, love to do crossword puzzles...but can't always finish them, so i ask my smarty-pants husband for help. :)
6. i love to take recipes and tweak them to make them unique or work with what i have on hand...this only works about 75% of the time.
7. i love to wash the dishes - but hate to empty the dishwasher. luckily, my husband doesn't mind as much. :)
8. similarly, i love to do laundry and smell the dryer smell (my favorite!) - but i hate having to put the clothes away.
9. i'm bummed when matt has to go to korea for work - but i love being able to load up our netflix queue with all the girly stuff i want.
10. studying abroad in london was one of the best experiences i have ever had - great friendships, fun travels, amazing city.
11. i married my husband on our two year anniversary (which also happened to be mother's day).
12. i've always worn flats/low shoes because i was taller than most of my friends. having a 6'4" husband is helping me grow out of that.
13. serving with the people in children's ministry at fbcslo are some of my most fun memories of college.
14. i derive great joy and fulfillment from organizing and finding a place for everything in our house.
15. i have a ridiculous number of greeting cards (sorted and organized by content) that i have purchased throughout the years because i thought it was cute/funny and would be perfect to send to someone someday.
16. i love gummy bears. (i blame london and the constant presence of haribo)
17. i am a very heavy sleeper and have been known to sleep through both (yes...both!) of my alarms.
18. i love to read and have a growing stack of books to read, but i don't make enough time for it.
19. i get motivated to exercise...but then think about where should i run?, do i have time to shower?, is my ipod charged?...and i lose all momentum. :/
20. i wish i could speak spanish more fluently.
21. i have a black thumb and have 'successfully' killed the rose bushes, lilies and camellias that were alive when we moved into this house.
22. i'm eager to start a family...but am thankful to have a wonderful husband who keeps me in check and reminds me that babies cost money.
23. i am tickled by 'spring scape', the theme on my google homepage. mr. frog and lady bug are too cute - and yes, i named them. :)
24. my favorite color is orange. a student once told me that was not okay because i am a girl. orange a boy color?
25. my life is infinitely blessed and full of hope. my God is good. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

reasons why...

...i am smiling today. :)

first, and the major reason for my ear-to-ear grin, matt comes home tomorrow morning - after 20 days in korea. so excited to have him home and have a whole weekend of relaxing and enjoying being together again.

while having matt gone has been no picnic, having no work/school this week made it a little better. thanks to some of our former presidents, my district gives this whole week off.

because of the week off, i have had lots of free time. with this free time i have been able to:
*sleep in until i wasn't tired - nothing crazy, but being in bed at 8:30 feels like a luxury. :)
*read books (for fun!)
*watch lots of gilmore girls on dvd
*spend the weekend with my mom and dad - great concert, yummy meals, good wine, awesome displays of wii tennis
*hang out with some great friends - aimee, amy, nard-dog, sarah and andrea. :)
*make myself yummy (and fairly nutritious) meals
*listen to new music given to me by my hip dad - fleet foxes and the national are currently in constant rotation
*catch up on old podcasts that have been in my ipod for 6+ months (oops...), some of which made me laugh and cry in the same hour

needless to say, i am relaxed, happy and feeling pretty good. all i need now is my matthew, and it'll be perfection. :) well...almost perfection...i still need to clear matt's side of the bed after using it as my books/clothes/magazines/blanket holder. ;)

hope this weekend brings you plenty of things to smile about, friends. :)