Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Life as an….established….

Nothing stays the same, but change. -my mom

I have been wondering a lot lately about the choices I have made in my past.  We make choices everyday, all the time.  Coffee or tea.  What to have for lunch?  Where to live?  Do I go on a date with him?  Do I go on another date with him?  Do I marry him?  Do I go right or left?  What job should I do?  Kids?  What shoes to wear? What time to go to bed?  Do I like my hair color?  Choices. Everyday.  All the time.  Some of the more important ones for myself have included: My education.  Where I want to live. Do I buy or rent? Friendships.  My job.  What about my insurance?  Relationship.  Financial issues. Parents.

I am at a time during my life where I can make big changes.  I am graduating in May.  Once I have my teaching certification I can move anywhere.  Should I go across the country?  Around the world?  Do I stay local (where a lot of my family is centered).  I don’t have a house payment holding me down. I don’t have children.  I have the option to leave.  I came into this town almost 8 years ago as a college freshmen.  I thought I would complete my 4 years as a college student in a college town and then move.  That track changed pretty quickly. My sister and her husband lived here.  We are very close (even if there are times when we don’t talk as much as we would like, I love her and she is my best friend).  Then my mom and pops moved here.  I have lived with them on and off over the years, and I honestly imagine not living in the same town as them.  They are my rock and my best friends.  After I graduated I found a few jobs, and living with my ex-boyfriend at the time.  I thought life was good, but I knew I was missing something.  My career.  I believe that your career does define you (along with many other traits).  Then the time came, do I stay here…or do I move?

I decided to do the most logical thing, I sent in my application to go back to school.  I was wishing and praying to be accepted in the Elementary Education program.  I remember the day I found out I was accepted.  Ironically, I was wearing the Hawk’s colors of black and gold…and I knew it was meant to be.  I was going to become a teacher.

Now that I am almost done with my program the question is up again, do I stay or do I go?  Some items have stayed the same, others have changed.  Now my sister and her husband have a beautiful home filled with my amazing 5 year old niece, and crazy (but adorable) 2 year old niece and nephew who are twins.  I have 4 other nephews that are hours away from me, and I miss them like crazy.  How could I leave these 3 munchkins?  Then there are my parents.  They still live here also, but over the years I have become more close with them.  Which I didn’t realize would be possible….but my mom and I talk to each other almost every day.  And I call my pops for advice and to just chat all the time.  I need to clarify that when I say pops, that means my step-dad.  He came into my life as a blind date for my mom.  My older sister and his daughter set them up on a date, and they have been together ever since.  I was only 12 and he jumped in.  What an awesome time to “gain” a daughter.  Yes, he and I have had our bad moments in the past, but I adore this man and I never want to think about him not being my dad.

As for my career…I am of course working on my teaching certification  but to pay the bills I have been working for the city for the past 2 and a half years.  I work in a parking lot as a cashier.  This job is wonderful.  I am able to do my homework while I work, and I am offered benefits.  This job has been a main reason that I have stayed here.  I know that I would love to get a job locally once I graduate, but teachers don’t leave their jobs around here.  The school that I am in for my classes is in a really good neighborhood and I love the community in the school.  My CT told me that on day one, she could tell that I have the ability to connect with the students and I feel comfortable working with them.  In a short amount of time and words this validated my choice of going back to school to become a teacher.  How wonderful would it be if I was able to get a job in a school that I have already worked in for almost 6 months, and then be offered my own classroom!

Here I am in “my” 2nd grade classroom.  I love these students, and they are teaching me how to become a wonderful teacher.

Making a difference…. Each day I get up, get ready, head out the door, and make my way across town to head into the classroom.  I love how on the mornings that I am sleepy or cranky my students make me smile immediately and then I am in a great mood for hours after I tell them goodbye.  Working with the students each day is amazing.  I can see their progress.  I have a rapport formed with them.  I am able to create my own lesson plans and teach them.  I love the fact that I am working towards my career that I can’t wait to do everyday.

So I have established myself here.  I don’t own a house or a condo, I rent.  I have my routines that I follow each week.  I have my favorite spots to get coffee, and they know me.  I have friendships that have formed since I have graduated.  I feel as if I am a “townie”…not a visiting college student.  One of the major questions that I feel like almost every person my age asks themselves is…”Is this all there is?  Is this really going to be my life forever?”  I am there.  I am wondering this.  I am happy currently.  I love the way my has formed into what it is now.  But is this really all there is?  Do I want more?  Or do I stay with what I  know?  If it is about comfort only, I stay.  I graduate and find a job at a local school.  I buy a house and continue to live in this town until…well for the years to come. If I move and leave, wow….I’m not sure if I am ready to even have those thoughts to come out into written words.    I would guess by this feeling alone that I am ready to stay here.  To be an official townie.  This town, that was once seen as a college town to me would then become my official home.  I think I am ready for this step. For this moment.

How do you know when you are ready to settle?  Which I do not like using that word..settle…it seems like you are just letting things happen because it is the easy way out.  When really, if you settle you could have thought out your choices and then make the best option for your life.  Why is that considered  settling?  I would rather say decide, confirm, or establish.  Yes, I believe I want to establish my life in the current town I am in.

until again, alc

Friends Who Are Always There

Dear Dan,

Thank you for being silly with me.  For texting and calling me all the time.  For visiting me at work and standing outside in the cold just to be there to “entertain me”.  To introducing me to some certain apps on my phone 😉  For playing Maroon 5 loud while we are driving around and singing along with me to.  For being a wonderfully sweet man who I trust completely.  I am so happy and thankful for you being in my life.

Love, me

——————————————————————————-

Over the past view years I have made new friends, lost some, and began to realize which ones will be with me for the rest of my life.  I love when I meet someone new in a crazy situation, and after a short time I know that we are going to become best friends almost immediately.  One of those friends is a man that I met more than a year ago.

The wonderful things about Dan:

  • He is a true Iowan, with awesome Mid-West values and beliefs
  • He will send me text at the perfect moment when I need to smile…how does he always know when to do this? 🙂
  • He is kind and caring
  • I know he will always be there for me, this includes helping me move in the future…going out for lunch…getting a drink…or calling me to chat
  • We both love nature, and we have spent a lot of time outside enjoying it together
  • He is teaching me about Iowa farming and cows, even better baby cows!
  • He supports my decision for going back to school, and he always reminds me that I will become an amazing teacher.  (This means so much to me when I have had a rough day in the classroom.)

Here is Dan and I at an Iowa football game earlier in the season.  We bleed black and gold.

Learning how to farm the corn fields.

A perfect image for the end… 

I have been having a rough past couple of days (almost a week now).  A few days ago was the anniversary of my best friend’s passing.  I sent Dan a text explaining my thoughts, and he called me right away.  Then he continues to text me wonderful messages reminding me that each day will get better, and if I need anything to get  a hold of him.  This image of a road during a beautiful Iowa day one of the amazing texts I received from Dan.  He took this when he was out one day, and he knows how much I adore nature.  As soon as I opened the text of this image, along with the line “Just for you” I couldn’t stop smiling all day.

I know each person has a friend like Dan.  Tell them thank you the next time you see them, or contact them soon and tell them how much you appreciate them.  Everyone loves to hear it.  Who cares if you feel silly telling them how much you adore them.  Do it.  Give specific examples, and continue this same process with all of your friends who touch your heart.

until again, alc

Grandpas

I wanted to dedicate this post to my grandpas.  I have been lucky enough to have both of my grandpas involved in my life until just a few years ago.  My family has always been a huge part of my life. And I love it.  Unfortunately my grandpa Jerry lived in Texas my whole life, and I wasn’t able to see him as often as I wanted too.  My grandpa Warren and I lived in the same town until I was 18, and we spent time together at least 3 times a week.

My parents divorced when I was young. My mom stepped up filling the mom and dad role on a daily basis.  My grandpa Warren would always take care of us.  He would be over to shovel the walks in the winter, rake leaves in the fall, plant flowers in the spring, and mow our grass in the summer.  The moments we spent together have been memories that I think of and smile.  He has taught me many life lessons, and I know that I will one day I will be able to teach my kids all this knowledge learned.

 Thanks to grandpa Warren: 

  • I can hear a Cardinal and find them up in a tree
  • I know how to grow a garden
  • I know where to go to pick wild raspberries and then make homemade jam (10 cups of raspberries are needed….but it is hard to get those cups when I end up putting more in my belly than in my bucket)
  • St. Patrick, Missouri is where my 4th of July memories were made
  • Going to watch the Cardinals play down in St. Louis
  • I understand what the mile markers are on the side of the interstates
  • I have traveled and seen, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Prairie Dog Town, the Petrified Forest, huge sand dunes, and so much more
  • I love flea markets, antique stores, live auctions, and garage sales because he taught me how to find a treasure
  • Finding pieces for my depression glass set
  • Teaching me how to play softball and being my coach for 10 years

Here is my grandpa Warren on Father’s Day this  year.  We went down and spent the day with him.  Mom and I found this awesome Cardinal bird house to add to his collection.

Here is grandpa Warren and I at Easter this year.  I love how we have the same chin 🙂

Grandpa Jerry is another story.  He was the man I spent time with only a few weeks out of each year.  I saw him when I was down in Texas visiting my dad.  My mom has told me that I my personality is similar to his.  We both have love for Sperry Topsiders.  There has been many moments in the past where we may have been a little inappropriate…but we were both laughing the whole time.  I lost my grandpa Jerry a few years ago.  At some point everyday I am reminded of him, and how this leads me to be reminded of how much I miss him.  I continuously go through the “what ifs” and “I wish I could haves” but I they won’t make a difference.  Instead I need to write down my memories, print off photos, and talk to my family and friends about my grandpa Jerry.  I need to make time to spend every moment I can with the ones I care about and love.  I can’t concentrate on the mistakes I have made in the past, but instead look forward on the changes I am going to make in the future.

Thanks to grandpa Jerry:

  • I know how to fish, especially in the Gulf of Mexico
  • How to laugh at any situation
  • How to really use a toothpick
  • Many, many inappropriate jokes
  • I know that if you shove peanut butter up your nose it can be a really good joke
  • That Milwaukee Best is better with a little pitch of salt in it
  • To go crabbing and then have an amazing shrimp and crab boil
  • To overcome personal differences and to get along with others (even if you don’t want to, but it makes loved ones around you happier)
  • I have my very own dollhouse that he built, one very small piece at a time, and then painted with the exact same colors of his house
  • I know the clipping sound in the canals are crabs snapping their pinchers
  • Where to go to find the secret spot for fishing, and to see alligator gars jumping out of the water

This is from of the many summer days we spent together on the beach.  Grandpa Jerry is the “Old Fart”, next is my cousin Danielle, and then myself rocking the two piece.

Here is grandpa Jerry in 2006 when he presented my very own dollhouse.  Each one of the granddaughters (3 total) received their own dollhouse.  Mine was the last one to be built, and I cannot wait to have my permanent home to set up for my kids to one day play with.

Thank you to both of my grandpas for being there for me throughout my whole life.  For helping shape me into the woman I have become.  For being who you are, and respecting the person I am.  I love you both unconditionally.

What are some of your favorite stories or memories you have had with your grandparents?  Have you called them, seen them, or written them a letter lately telling them that you are thankful for them?  Take a moment and do it.

Until again,

alc

Life as a 2nd Grader…Fall Bulletin Board

Before I went back to school in the fall of 2011 I was selling auto and home insurance and working in a parking ramp.  I graduated from Iowa in December 2009 with an art and business degree, and once I received my degree I wasn’t that sure on what I wanted to do with my life.  I was dreaming about moving to a big city and becoming a painter.  Traveling around and producing my paintings from my new free lifestyle, but then I realized that I don’t have the money to do that.  I wasn’t ready to leave the city that my family and I live in.  And I didn’t really believe that I would be able to pay my bills.  So I thought about my choices.  I talked to my friends and family.  I volunteered.  I wrote in my journals.  I painted.  I did yoga and ran.  I ended my relationship.  I moved back into my parents house.  I was accepted into the Education Program.  I was ready to make this change in order to make my life a lot better.

Today was my first time to teach a full art lesson. Here are the stats for the lesson:

  • There are 23 students in this 2nd grade class
  • There are two students who have ADD/ADHD
  • This lesson was 40 minutes long
  • I have been teaching with these students for a month and a half now
  • We created mosaic leaves for the hallway bulletin board

I started by talking to my Cooperating Teacher about a few ideas I had for the bulletin board out in the hallway.  I always check with my CT before teaching any lesson (including mini or full lessons).  We wanted to have a bright and engaging board that would be welcoming for the students as they are walking into the classroom door.  We also wanted the student to be proud of the piece they completed that is now hanging out in the hallway for the whole school to see.  And we wanted something for the parents, friends, and relatives of the students to see during the upcoming parent teacher conference.  So I created the fall themed lesson plan where each student would make their own individual mosaic leaf by ripping up construction paper and gluing it on to a leaf template.  Each student also has a leaf or a pumpkin where they finished the sentence, “I love fall because…”  These items are placed around a tree that I created with brown wrapping paper.  I personally think the board turned out awesome, and so do the students!

I video taped myself teaching this lesson today… That is a super weird thing to do.  But it will help me learn how to be a better teacher for my future students.  I watched the video for the first time tonight, not taking notes, but just as a video.  Who would have known that I need to speak louder when I am teaching. Me, not loud enough?  Really??  But that is the best part of being in the Education Program is that we are taught how to be teachers by teaching.  

Here is the bulletin board before…boring

 

Up close of some of the mosaic leaves and “I love fall because….” sentences

 

The students’ reasons why they love fall 🙂

Completed! And I love it!

 

Until again,

alc

 

Guess what…. I did it

I did exactly what I didn’t want to do. I started the blog.  I filled out the blog.  I reviewed the blog.  People read the blog.  I stopped writing the blog.  Why am I not surprised?  Oh yeah, because I have done this in the past…. although I have noticed that I use the excuse that I am too busy to update it.  That I forgot.  That I would rather take a nap, or do something else instead.  Although in the past when I have updated my blog I have felt more refreshed, more relaxed, and happier.  So why wouldn’t I continue this process to get this amazing outcome?

My cousin, who I have mentioned in before has a blog and a vblog and an esty account and pinterest and youtube and facebook and twitter and she updates them all the time. In addition to all of her digital world she is building a brand new home with her boyfriend, working, going back to school, and potty training a new puppy!! (talk about putting me to shame)  I know, I know, I work and go to school, but I want to use her as my yardstick for this blog.  She has themes for her days and I think that if i do this for a few days (even if I only post on those few days a week for now) it would be better than none at all.  Some of her themes are: Throw back, short stories, letters to her mom, weight lost, and her crafts. (Check out her blog at http://daniellejhildebrand.blogspot.com/ )

Some of my ideas for themes that would portray to my life are: Life as a 2nd Grader, Completing my to-do’s, Local Fun or Trying Something New, Flashbacks, and My Updated Style.  

I am going to finish up this post, and then create a new post on Life as a 2nd Grader 🙂

My life lately has been full of writing lesson plans, being critiqued while teaching, working, and trying to organize/clean my home.  I am taking 18 hours this semester…4 mornings a week I am at a local Elementary school teaching (along with the classroom teacher) for 3 hours each day.  This semester has been the first time since I started the education program at Iowa where I feel as if I am a real teacher.  Each day I wake up thankful for the life changing decision I made a few years ago to go back to school.  Before I was accepted into the program my nerves were out of control.  My emotions were changing from happy to sad to confused daily.  I wasn’t happy with my career, correction I didn’t have a career at this time, I had a job to pay the bills.  Then I received my notification that I was going back to school.  And so my life finally felt as if it was complete.  And now I am working on my educational experience better each day I wake up and walk out the door to go to class.

What is one change that you have made in the past that has changed your life??

Until again,

alc