Author Archive: aleecolton

Another Change…..

At the beginning of this month I turned 26.  I can’t believe that I have been walking around, living my life, making decisions everyday, going to school to further my education, trying to survive some days, and having every emotions imagined for 26 years.  I want to believe that each day I have learned something new, and that I have been able to grow from every experience given to me.  But I don’t know if that is necessarily true.  Some days I get home, and I am laying in bed and I begin to question my life.  The choices that I have made, the moments in my life where I went left instead of right, maybe I should have gone straight instead.  Isn’t it crazy how one choice you make could make such a huge change in your life?  What if I did something wrong in the past that will surface years in the future, and it will make my life completely different?….  I want to believe that everything happens for a reason.  I have been told by my friends that I always look for the sliver lining in life.  That I believe that the glass is half full.  Yes, I understand that it could be cheesy to restate those ideas, but sometimes being a little cheesy puts a huge smile on my face and lifts my spirit.  But how can I really believe that I have never questioned my past choices in my life…..

My life is changing.  Not just oh I finally got my own apartment and I am living on my own, but I am graduating in May with an educational degree.  I will be an Iowa state certified elementary teacher.  It will be happening sooner than later.  Two years in the making, and now I will be done with my 2nd degree in a few months.  What if I am not able to get a job right after I graduate?  What if by the time the fall term comes around I don’t have my classroom?  There is always substitute teaching, but I want my classroom.  I want to be able to decorate the walls, and plan my lessons, and get to know the other teachers in the building.  To make a stable life with a career that I love. Teaching.  Educating children, and helping them grow by introducing them to exciting literature, art, fascinating science experiments  and reliving the past through history.  Some how in my life I made the choice to go back to school, and work towards another degree to become a teacher.  I mad that choice to fill out the College of Education application, to volunteer the hours, to pay the tuition fees, to write papers and take tests….and those choices came through as one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

My career will change, it will begin to happen soon.  I feel like I will have my feet planted on the ground, stable.  I will begin to make big payments towards my student loans, I will be able to save for my future, and to plan more realistically for my future of a family and children.  Those are all huge steps, and maybe today it is a little too much to think about.  Instead I have been making small changes that I can handle.  That aren’t too hard for me to figure out.  So here is my quick fix…. changing my hair color.  And here is to looking at each new change as something that is easy for me to figure out.



Until again,



In Paradise

I was lucky enough to live in paradise for a semester my junior year of college. Everyone that I asked about their college experience they either said how much they loved studying abroad or they wish they would have studied abroad.  So I made the choice to take the jump and move to the other side of the world.  I knew I wanted to live somewhere they have beautiful beaches, in warm weather, and where they speak English.  I love foreign languages, but unfortunately my brain has never been able to comprehend another language. My sister on the other hand, she took Spanish in high school years ago, and she can rock it.  Maybe after I am out of the education program I should start the process of learning Spanish…another goal to put on the list.

When you ask someone where their dream place would be to live, quite a few of them say Australia.  I said it too, and then I did it.  I filled out all the paperwork, I booked the plane ticket, I packed my bag, and I moved to Australia.  I signed up through a program that hooked up a lot of American students on the flight over so we were able to meet each other before we got to Oz.

I am going to go back just a few….some of the huge accomplishments that I conquered by going over to Oz was:

  1. Living alone for the first time ever
  2. Flying overseas (hello 12 hour flight)
  3. Moving over to Oz not knowing anyone
  4. Not knowing where I was going to live over there
  5. Moving around the world with only 1 suitcase filled with my possessions…. that was a huge challenge that my sister helped me with

One of the big goals I wanted to be able to say that I could do when I got back to the states was to surf.  And after a weekend with Mojo Surfing, eating a lot of water, being extremely sore for days afterwards, and one broken bikini….I could say that I could surf.  I continued to surf for the rest of the semester, but sadly I haven’t been on a board since.  It has been a few years, and I wonder how many times I would fall before I could actually ride a wave….

surfIMG_0113 IMG_0459 DSC_0033 - Copy DSC_0071 DSC_0163 DSC_0232 IMG_0027 IMG_0064Above are photos from my weekend of learning how to surf.  It was pretty awesome, there were  two photographers that took photos all weekend and then we were able to buy cd’s with all the photos on them.  I love the candid shots.


until again,




After what happened in the last 24 hours it makes me question if I am prepared.  Am I ready for my future?  I am ready for the unexpected that is going to happen, all the good and the bad?  All the pretty and the ugly?  How do I prepare for the future?  What can my mentors do to assist me?  What can I learn from their past experiences that will make my future ones better.  What can we all do to make tomorrow more exceptional than today, and more outstanding than yesterday?

Studying to become a teacher I have seen a lot of situations that I wasn’t prepared for.  Before I was even in the program I was volunteering in a 4th grade art room, and I had a young student who was usually out going and happy very quiet during class.  Some of her friends came up to me and told me she was acting different.  So I went up to this student and asked her how her day was going.  Right away I could tell something was different.  Her eyes gave it away.  After a little bit of small talk, I asked if she would go out in the hall and chat some more with me.  She agreed, so we walked out to have some privacy in the hallway.  It was almost the end of class by this time, and so we just talked about the upcoming weekend, and how the weather was changing so quickly.  Once class was over we were actually able to talk.  I found out that there were some troubles at home, and this wasn’t the first time.  How do you prepare for this?  When a young student comes to you with a problem, any problem…can you keep your cool, figure out the problem and then move towards finding a solution.  Or do you freeze up, show too much emotion, get too attached….and become more of the problem?

Today the country wept.  I never watch the news.  It is always so sad and it makes my day worse.  I like reading the newspaper, then I can control how much news I take in at once.  But today for some reason when I was home sitting downstairs having my cereal and coffee I thought, “Hey, I’ll put on CNN and have it on as background noise when I am doing stuff around the house.”   That was at 10:30am central time.  Not long after the shooting occurred.  I was hooked on the station.  It started out as only a few people passed away, then it moved onto about 10, then almost 20, then closer to 30.  It kept getting worse and worse, and yet I couldn’t look away.  It took me back to 9/11.  Why is when we see something bad, or hear about it, we ask so many more questions.  We are intrigued   We are curious.  We want details.  We reread all the stories.  We continue to listen to the same report over and over again.  Until we think we know exactly what happened.  Until we believe we have figured out any reason why it happened.  Then we begin to question our own lives.

Within a few hours everyone on Facebook had their status’ about the shooting.  About loving their children, calling and saying I love you.  Hugging them.  Spending time with them.  Praying for the families at the school.  We think that even though we may have no connection to anyone out at the shooting, our short status update will make a difference.  This isn’t really for them, this is to comfort us.  To make ourselves feel better about our own lives.  To tell ourselves that today we are going to do better, we are going to make a difference, we are going to love more, smile more, be happy.  I hope this is true.

It leads to me writing this post.  To wondering what will change in the future as I am a teacher.  What will happen in my classroom with my students in the future, will there be any new laws that will protect my students?  And myself?  Will I be able to do anything to be more prepared?  What can I do to make a difference in my future students’ lives?

I will lay down tonight in my bed, thinking about my life.  Thinking about our country.  Guns.  Schools.  My future classroom. What can I do to prepare?  Maybe tomorrow I can start by doing some simple research to make my day more productive, and then take a deep breath.  I will take each step, each day one at a time and realize that if I prepare myself for the impossible, then maybe I will be ready for the possible.

until again, with love


Almost there…

School has been overwhelming, successful, time consuming, difficult, eye opening, beneficial, and most importantly….life changing.  

Friday was my last “official day” before Thanksgiving Break.  The crazy part is that I have been looking forward for a break from school for so long, and then I was extremely busy with my classes that I thought I still had another week before break.  That makes this break even better.  During this next week I want to spend time with my family.  I want to take my nieces and nephews out for one on one time with me.  I want to watch the movie The Help with my mom and my sister.  I have a brand new canvas sitting in my room mocking me…it has been doing this for about 2 months now…I am going to paint.  I want to become “caught up” on all of my readings and other assignments.  I want to sit in my house with a cup of tea with raspberry honey from Colorado and read a book.  I want to go to a few hot yoga classes with my roommate.  I want to sleep in.  And then I want to get up early.  I want to go through my closet and cleanse my stuff.  I want to make big payments and get my financials in order even more than they are currently.  I want to still go in to my 2nd grade class and teach on my “day off.”

It amazes me how quick this semester has gone by.  Before classes started I was worried about getting up early and being prepped and ready to teach 4 mornings a week from 8am to 11am.  And now I am complaining that I only have 3 weeks left in the class.  I don’t want to say good bye to my students.  I have become extremely comfortable with them.  I listen to their stories, to their problems, to their goals, to anything they want to tell me.  We read together, we write creative wonderful stories together, they see me…smile…and give me a hug.  They are always sad when I leave on Wednesday’s because we won’t see each other until Friday.  (I have a class on campus on Thursday)  My cooperating teacher has become one of my friends.  We text on the weekends and during the evenings.  She has given me an awesome book to help me while writing lesson plans.  She knows about my life.  She is interested in my future.  And she wants me to try and get a job in the school once I graduate.  One of the students told me, “I think you should be our 3rd grade teacher here, so then we can see you again next year, and then we can be your first real students!”  How adorable are 7 year olds?  The days that I am tired or having a difficult time…I walk into the classroom and they are able to sense it.  Those days they are sweet and caring, they ask me about my day, they want to sit right next to me and hold my hand when we are walking in the hall.

I know that my student loans are outrageous   I realize this.  I know that I could have applied for the education program when I was in my first 4 years of college, but would I have truly loved it then?  Would I have worked as hard in my courses as I do now?  Was I ready for that experience when I was only 20 years old?  I don’t think I would have.  I think I would have just passed my classes to be done with them.  I don’t think I would have been comfortable up in front of 25 students teaching.  I wouldn’t have felt like it was the right choice.  But right now at this moment I know that it was.

Going back to school was the perfect push I needed to make my life better.  Looking into the future is similar to dreaming for me, but instead of just imagining the “what it could be like” I am able to say, “I am going to have my own classroom.  I am going to become an elementary teacher in this area.  I am going to love my students.  I am going to make this happen soon.”

I understand that it is going to be a lot of work.  And at moments it will be very difficult, but after being in the classroom (even for just 3 hours 4 days a week) the good moments, no the wonderful moments out number those difficult times.  I am ready for all those exciting moments ahead.  I am ready to have an apple on my desk and my students at their desks.


Time to teach! 🙂


until again,


My Home State

There are many things that Iowa can offer someone.  Not only do we have farmers that are literally in our backyard growing food for our tables.  Or the livestock that we are lucky enough to eat that is healthy, and  not filled with hormones.  The people that live here. The people that are raised here.  The  have values that are unheard of in other parts of the country.  Iowa is one of the best states in education, even if the stats say otherwise currently…  I love this state.  Even though I have my Texas pride in my heart (I have to represent my birth state).  But I was raised in Iowa.  I am an Iowan.  I love to say that I am from the Midwest, and that I want to raise my family in the Midwest.  There is one thing that is a little crazy that I will never understand about this state…the weather.

How can it be cold enough in the morning for scarves and heat on the drive to work, but then by 1 o’clock you are wearing shorts and a tank top, then once 7pm comes around you’ve got jeans and a sweater back on again… tell me how many other places is able to have that amazing weather change in a few hours.  Well if you have ever lived in Iowa (or anywhere in the Midwest) you can say, “Oh yeah, I know exactly what she is talking about.”

Those days when you spend the extra 30 minutes doing your hair, because when you went out to feed the birds at 6am it was nice and cool with a gentle breeze.  Then by the time you walk out the door dolled up in your cute outfit, coffee in hand, and hair curled. Wow.  Mistake.  Hello frizz. You realize then a second after being outside that the humidity is rising, and it is going to be a scorcher.  You could have slept for that extra 30 minutes and thrown your hair up into a bun instead of wasting your time.  And this is the beginning of a normal Iowan summer day.

There are some days that are beautiful.  Those days are cool, with the sun shining, and a clear cool evening.  You can wear jeans, a tank, and flip flops.  Even better a sun dress with a thin sweater.  Or if you are an “odd one” like me, your perfect day has a crazy thunderstorm.  Those are the best days.  Days that are warm, with the sun shining, and then all of a sudden the dark thick clouds come rolling in.  You can hear the thunder miles away, you are just waiting for the storm to come.  The temperature drops. The wind beings to blow, and then the rain comes.  It is amazing when you can see the rain fall in the same fashion of an ocean’s wave.  If you are outside (and if you can run really fast…) you could maybe stay dry.

When I was in high school there were many hours spent swinging on the front porch watching and listening to the storms.  My family has taught me to appreciate and love nature.  Every aspect of it.  The good and the bad.  The hot and the cold.  The dry and the wet.  We would sit together and talk, spending time outside.  Enjoying the weather.  Loving the memories that were being made.  One of the times we were sitting outside watching the storm was the night before my mom and papa’s wedding. (Papa is my stepdad.)  I was a sophomore in high school and I was a little awkward.  I had braces.  I hadn’t exactly grown into the body I have today.  I was skinny.  I  tripped a lot (okay I still trip a lot to this day…) So we were outside on the back porch.  It began to rain.  Then it began to pour.  Then the wind picked up and the hail started to fall.  Papa pointed out a huge piece of hail that was out in the yard.  We all saw it and agreed it was a pretty big piece.  Next thing I know I was in the backyard.  Pops had given me a little “help” into the backyard.  I guess he thought it was really necessary to get that piece of hail.  Luckily I also thought the piece was pretty sweet and so it wasn’t a big deal to go out in the storm to grab it.  At that moment I know that pap was going to fit right in with our family 🙂

Enjoy the weather.  Go outside and get soaked from the raindrops.  Maybe run out in a hailstorm once in your life.  Lay out in the sun (with sunblock of course).  Sit on the porch with your family, have a cocktail, and share some stories.  Don’t just sit inside in front of the computer or TV.  Get up and move around.  Have some wonderful clean Iowan air move through your lungs, energizing you to run.  Smile that we are able to have all 4 seasons here.  Each year I get to live through extremely hot days with my curly hair, cool breezy days with beautiful leaves, freezing days building snowmen, and perfect days with thunderstorms.  And I love each and every single one of them.

Here are a few photos from a day this summer where my best friend and I were sitting outside watching her boyfriend’s soccer game and the thunderstorm came rolling in within minutes.  Man, I love Iowa.

And here comes the storm….

Black clouds took over…

Goodbye blue sky…

And then the rainbow peeks through the darkness…

until again, alc

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


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,


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,



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 )

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,