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Bring on the Magic

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For our last trip of the summer we took a road trip to see my husband’s family in Southern California.  Though we have made this trip a thousand times before, I was nervous about how my almost 15-month-old would fare sitting in her car seat for 6 or 7 hours.  She has made the trip many times before (her first trip was when she was just 4 months old), but now that she is a bit older she tends to exert her authority a lot more now (via screaming).  Luckily, I downloaded a Barney video on the iPad before we left.  You can always count on good ol’ Barney.  He saved us a ton of headache.

Hubby and I had a spontaneous date night at Disneyland the day we arrived.  The grandparents got some face time with Dylann while we got some much needed QT together. The first thing we hit up was the corn dog stand.  Bad idea, since for some reason the ones we got were dripping with oil and made our tummies hurt afterwards.  We then found a spot somewhat near the Walt Disney statue and waited a few minutes for the fireworks to begin. 

Oh, Disneyland fireworks.

They are the best fireworks I have ever seen.  Ever.  They have the power to evoke emotions out of you that you never knew you could experience during a fireworks show.  I think it’s the music.  And Tinkerbell.  And maybe the flying elephant, too.  I think it’s also the fact that when you look around, you see kids and adults alike that are mesmerized by it all.  You come away from the fireworks feeling like your dreams really will come true if you just believe. Corny, I know. 

But honestly, I think our world needs a little bit of corny here and there.  Our kids are inundated with the examples of bad behaviors of our humankind – true stories that don’t end with lessons in loyalty, friendship, bravery, and love.  Heck, most adults could benefit from believing more in the magic of one’s imagination. Somewhere along the path of our life, we lose that magic.  I guess that’s why I really love visiting Disneyland.  Walt wasn’t kidding when he set out to create the happiest place on Earth.  If you can get past the crazy crowds, incredibly long lines, and obnoxiously overpriced food, the place makes you feel like a kid.  And for the few hours that you’re there, you find your magic again.

Again, corny…I know.

 



The Shortlist

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Every teacher that I know dreads looking at the calendar and realizing that it is almost the end of summer.  For me, the beginning of August marks the beginning of crunch time.  Classrooms need to be set up, lesson plans put in place, and beginning-of-the-year meetings scheduled.  I start having nightmares about the first day of school (yes, teachers get nervous, too!), and try very hard to put myself on a regular sleeping schedule.

This school year will mark the beginning of something new.  I’ll be at a different school this year, still teaching middle school but only to seventh graders.  I left my old school of six years in order to be closer to my daughter.  This new school is only five minutes from my house – three if all the lights are green.  I won’t have to cross the bridge (good-bye $5 toll) or sit in afternoon traffic.  That’s an hour extra every day that I get to spend with my babygirl, precious minutes with someone who is already growing up too fast.

2013-07-25 00.03.39[I asked her to smile for the camera. Then I told her we were leaving and that she had to get out of the chair. What a diva.]

I’ve naturally been doing lots of research in order to prepare for next school year, especially because I will be teaching two subjects I haven’t taught for a while now: Social Studies & Literature.  I feel like a brand new teacher.  Not in a good way…but in a I-want-to-do-it-all-but-don’t-know-where-to-start kind of way.  There’s so much information on the internet nowadays that it’s almost information overload!  I’ve been writing stuff down, printing tons of resources, and pinning like a madwoman.  Today I spent over an hour searching for “round robin reading alternatives” when I suddenly realized 2 things:

  1. The baby is going to wake up soon.
  2. How much of this am I actually going to use?

Hands up if you feel me on #2!  I’ve always been the type to be so gung-ho about something, gather everything I need to get started, and never start.  Or worse, start and never finish.  It’s actually something that I’ve been working on to change about myself.  I could sit and google for hours about the latest teaching techniques, behavior management tips, or the Common Core (dun dun dun), but it won’t make any difference if I don’t put any of it into play.  So, what I have decided to do is get a nice short list of ideas going of things I would like to do differently in my classroom this year and make it a goal to try them out.  Once I’ve exhausted the list, or if I’m in the need a little more inspiration, I’ll get back on the computer and google away.  In case you were curious, here’s my list for the 2013-2014 school year.

Photo Jul 29, 12 10 54 AM[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

We will see how just how many of these get implemented and sustained next year.  Realistically, we’re looking at 3 out of 5.  I’m working on the follow-through, remember?



Hello, Saturday.

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Yesterday we did an easy 2-mile hike down a beautiful trail overlooking Crystal Springs.  Some of my cousins and my aunt and uncle came as well, and we were having some good Bay Area weather that morning.  It was my first hike with my little toddler, so I was unsure how the morning was going to pan out, especially since it happened to be nap time.  I was crossing my fingers hoping that the bumpy road would lull her to sleep in her stroller.  Ah, if only we lived in a perfect world.

The minute she realized I was the one pushing the stroller, she lost it.  Cue the fake cry.  I reassured everyone that she was just trying to get me to carry her and that she would quiet down in a minute. My aunt, however, was not too pleased with my cry-it-out method.  And, of course, because little 14-month-olds are amazingly smart, my daughter picked up on this and worked the system.  Baby Dylann knew exactly what to do to get my aunt to crack, and just like that she was free from her restraints. We were still half a mile from the end of the trail, and my poor back cringed in anticipation of the cute 20-pound load it was about to carry.  It’s a good thing my husband walked back to meet us (he ditched us earlier and started running) as he ended up carrying her the rest of the way.

My aunt wanted to eat at this seafood restaurant called Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, and it was going to be a bit of a drive to get there due to weekend traffic.  Luckily I brought snacks!  If there’s one thing I learned as a first-time-mom it’s that the way to my daughter’s heart is through her stomach.  Unfortunately my snacks ran out (I forgot that I should have packed for the rest of my family, too!) and we still had to wait 1.5 hours for a table.  Dylann woke up from her nap and I knew she was going to be hungry.  With no more food and more than an hour to wait, I had to make a decision.  So, I did the unthinkable.

I took her to McDonald’s.  gasp.

There’s a lot of pressure on today’s first-time-moms…

  • Have a natural, drug-free birth.  It’s better for the baby.
  • You should make your own baby food.  It’s better for her.
  • Cloth diapering is easy!  It’s better for the environment and for your little one!
  • Don’t feed her any fast food.  She’ll grow up craving it.

You can imagine my guilt.  But you know what?  Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.  And you can’t feel bad about it.  The reality is that you set the tone for how your kid is going to live his/her life in the future, and though I want my child to be healthy I also want her to know that it’s ok to break the rules every now and then.  Plus, her Happy Meal came with a cute little minion, and who doesn’t love minions?  You got me there, McDonald’s.

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Dylann ended up eating a small handful of fries and one chicken nugget.  That was enough to hold her over until the “real food” came.  Mmmm…lobster roll.  I’m still dreaming about it.

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It was a fun afternoon, and I got over my McDonald’s guilt pretty quickly.  I know that I do my best to live a healthy lifestyle and set a good example for my daughter, and I can of course always do better. But she’s growing, she’s happy and healthy, and I can’t ask for much else.