From my drafts..., School, Thoughts

Draft from 5 years ago: Final’s Week Birthday

My birthday has been during final’s week the past 3 years of college. It was on Sunday, then Monday, and now Tuesday. This year is definitely the worst though, since I’m turning 21! I have finals Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

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Family, Food, Thoughts

Second Whole30

This Whole30 has been completely different than my last one.

Last time, in March 2015, I don’t remember complaining about it at all, I don’t remember being extra hungry, and I don’t remember having cravings. I talked it up so much to everyone I know, sharing how I was satisfied without all my snacking, how I had lost 9 pounds, and how it was a great reset for my body. Even though I didn’t end up having any HUGE health changes, I basically just confirmed that I don’t have any food intolerances. I didn’t notice a change in energy levels, skin clarity, sleep, or anything else. Going into the Whole30, I didn’t particularly have any issues in any of these areas either. I just thought it would be neat to try it, and I love giving myself challenges.

Fast forward to October 2016. I convince my roommate to do the Whole30 with me, and we start it with no problems at all. Then, the whole slicing my foot open thing happens. My coworkers at school SO generously started a food sign-up sheet where they provided meals for us after my surgery. This was amazingly thoughtful and it was so nice to not have to cook while on my crutches. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to pipe up that I was on the Whole30 and all the food needed to meet those guidelines. I happily thanked everyone for the soups, corned beef, pastas, stuffed peppers, desserts, and more. And that was my first Whole7.

Fast forward once again to March 2017. I started getting the idea in my head that I wanted to do another Whole30, starting on April 1. The main reason this was popping in my head was because I had been snacking a LOT more than normal at the time. It became a joke with my students that I was always eating candy….yeah, I soon realized this wasn’t a great joke and it wasn’t sending a great message to my students either. I figured a Whole30 would be a great reset. Whenever I explained what I was doing to anyone, I would simply explain that I already knew I didn’t have any intolerances, but that I was just doing this as a way to reset my body back to a healthier baseline. I got my sister on board, and I even convinced my mom and dad to try it out, too. Honestly, this has been the BEST part about my Whole30 this time around!! I have always wanted my parents to try the Whole30 as a way to see how their bodies feel without added sugar, gluten, wheat, etc. and to find out if my dad is intolerant to one of these things. He has been having stomach issues for a few years now. I thought there was no way that my dad would ever do a Whole30, but he proved me wrong by being right on board with my mom. My mom was pretty excited to try it out, and she and my sister have been ROCKING it up in PA. They both say that it’s really helpful that they’re doing it together in the same house. They’re all eating the same so they make great meals and enjoy encouraging each other.

Then there’s me..down here in Virginia. This time around, my Whole30 is full of complaining (most of it in my head), cravings, and too much snacking (although at least the snacks are Whole30 compliant). I know that it’s strongly suggested not to snack, and just to eat three big enough meals, but that’s just not really how it’s been working out for me this time around. Of course, I’ve stuck to the Whole30 as I knew I would, even going out in D.C. till 3am one night and then having a Girls Night another night where everyone was drinking drinks that I couldn’t have, eating pizza that I couldn’t have, and eating all kinds of other deliciousness..that I couldn’t have. In all honesty though, those days weren’t even challenging. I knew exactly what I could and couldn’t have and I brought my own snacks. Alicia and I even did a 4-day thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, carrying all Whole30 compliant food! To an outsider looking in, I’ve been kicking this Whole30’s butt. Even my meals throughout this Whole30 have been pretty yummy. There’s been a few super delicious ones, and lots of ones that were just fine. I haven’t been as motivated in the kitchen overall, so I think maybe that’s part of what’s making me feel not as successful. It’s going..fine, but I’m definitely excited for it to be over. This is super different than how I felt last time around. I feel pretty guilty for feeling this way…but also, it’s life. Sometimes you’ll have a good Whole30 and sometimes you won’t haha.

There’s only 5 days to go, and I really am looking forward to eating some yummy things I haven’t eaten in a month!

 

Two noteworthy additions from this Whole30:

-Whole30 Easter! As a family, we had a Whole30 approved Easter dinner. We were surrounded by donuts and candy at church (and of course in stores leading up to Easter), but we had a great dinner of pork chops, applesauce, and some delicious side dishes.

-My parents have been doing AMAZINGLY with the Whole30. My mom has talked about even continuing it in some capacity forever! She said she feels so much better with this way of eating that it’s worth it. She has been super inspiring to me during these 25 days so far. It’s funny that I was the inspiration for her to start in the first place, but now she has become my inspiration with how well she’s doing with it!

 

I’ll be excited to share another health update in a few weeks. Half marathon training just started, and I’m motivated to get back to a nice healthy balance with my eating.

 

 

 

Thoughts

“It’s fine!”

It’s been interesting having to rely on others for certain things while I’ve been on one leg these past few weeks. I didn’t quite realize how strongly I would feel about not wanting to be a burden. I never want to inconvenience anyone or give people extra work, so I’ve figured out how to do most things on my own. My friends and coworkers always do whatever they can for me, and sometimes get frustrated with me when I don’t let them help.

Yesterday at dinner, talking about my insistence to do things for myself brought the conversation around to my attitude/perspective on life – how everything is always fine in my eyes, I don’t wallow, and I stay positive no matter what. The comments/impersonations about it cracked me up. “Everything is fine!” “You could be complaining about the worst thing in the world, but then it always ends with a ‘but it’s fine though!'” “Oh, one of my hands is missing, but it’s fine, 5 fingers are better than 0. Who really needs 10 anyway when 5 are fine?”

To hear that this is how others see my perspective on life, I really couldn’t stop smiling! I’m pretty well known for my positive attitude, but life isn’t always all sunshine and roses. I’m glad to hear that I still portray the idea that life is good even when things aren’t going perfectly. I never realized how often I do say things are “fine,” but after hearing my friends say it, I realized that really is my line when things aren’t going well!

At parent teacher conferences earlier in the day yesterday, one parent told me a funny story. She said that one day she was at home complaining about the weather. Her daughter told her, “Is that negativity I hear?! Ms. Rogers tells us we always have to be positive. What good are you bringing to the world with that negativity?” The mom said that she couldn’t help but laugh and be appreciative, while also grumbling about the fact that her daughter (and me from afar!) wasn’t letting her wallow in her grumpiness.

From my own experiences, I know what having a positive attitude can do for you. It can encourage self-confidence, contentedness, and a sense of wonder about the world and the people in it. I know that my life could be very different without my positive attitude, and I feel sad for those who surround themselves with negativity, or choose to view things without any positivity.

Another phrase I say to my students often is “You only get this moment in life once! Even if we’re just doing a worksheet, why not give your all and really live in this moment?!” That’s truly how I live my life and I hope to spread that idea to others. It doesn’t mean you can’t be sad, frustrated, or unhappy about something, but hey, things could always be worse, and there’s always a way that you can turn your thinking around to assure yourself that “it’s fine!”

 

School, Teaching, Thoughts

One of Those Moments

Today,

I had one of those moments.

 

One of those moments I’ve had only a handful of times,

since the beginning of last year,

since the start of my career,

since becoming a teacher,

since fulfilling my childhood dream.

 

During math class, as my students took their Unit 3 Test, and I sat at my desk in the back grading one of the first papers to be handed in, someone tapped his pencil on a desk.

Tap, tap, tap.

Pause.

Tap, tap, tap.

Pause. I waited to see if the student would stop on his own and our “electric” silence would return to the room.

Pause.

Taptaptaptap.

From my desk in the back, in my quiet, amiable, magical teacher voice – “Whoever is tapping, make sure you’re working so that everyone can concentrate on their own test.” The absentminded tapping had stopped the second my voice entered the space. And as my words floated out into the room, that feeling came to me. The one that makes a smile break out over my face and fills my stomach with that fluttery realization.

These are my kids. This is my classroom. This is real life!

For so long, I dreamed, planned, and worked toward this result. It was never something unattainable and unreachable, never something that I had to be encouraged to not give up on, nothing that I thought might not come true. But how many times had I imagined my OWN classroom, written about my OWN classroom, talked about my OWN classroom.

I remember student teaching and the magic of being a student teacher. I am so lucky to have loved all of my mentor teachers and to have had such supportive placements. Even so, I was still a shy student teacher, who didn’t really have her place in these other classrooms. Even becoming as confident as I did in those rooms and in my roles there, they were never my classrooms.

Now, as I sit at my desk and plan lessons, walk around the room and listen to groups reading, get pulled suddenly into a hug as a student passes by, it sometimes hits me. This is mine! These are the little humans that I get to spend my days with. The people that I have the chance to shape, mold, teach, and learn from.

I stand at the front of the room each day, 22 smiling faces eager to hear what I have to say, eager to share in more experiences together, eager to have their minds opened to new ideas. Most days, it’s my job. It’s what I do, and I never lose sight of the fact that I love it.

But some days,

it’s more than just a sure feeling that I’m doing the right thing,

more than the realization that I am so lucky to be doing what I love,

more than the smiles on their faces.

 

Some days,

I have one of those moments.

 

 

 

Growing Up, Thoughts

A Stage of Life

Mid-20s. I think I’m officially in my mid-20s since I’m 24!! EEEK!

I’ve been thinking about this stage of life a bit lately. Mainly because…everything is fine and peachy in my life. There’s nothing wrong and everything is going great. My job, my relationships (romantic, friends, family, everything!), my workout routine, my eating – everything is just good/great! There’s nothing wrong, but there’s also nothing SUPER exciting! I’ve heard from a lot of people and read a lot of articles about how it’s okay to not have your life together at all in your 20s, and I really appreciate reading things like that. No one should feel ashamed or embarrassed that their life doesn’t ‘measure up’ to other people’s lives (who even knows what is really going on in anyone else’s life?! I’m a huge supporter of never, ever comparing) or isn’t how they expected their life to look at this point.

This is kind of rambly, but I don’t know if I even really have a point. I’m not even sitting here wishing for life to get exciting (because I know that could come in bad terms as well! sitting here without stress and with everything good is AMAZING!!!). I just find this phase of life interesting! Previously, I was always moving toward something and following the ‘path of life.’ I always had a new year of school, a graduation, a move, etc. to think ahead to. Now, I’m kind of just doing my thing. And my thing is great! I teach my students every single day and have such great connections with them that I leave feeling happy and successful. I’m training (slowly – come on warm weather!) for a marathon in the spring and gearing up for a 30 day eating challenge in March. I have spring break coming up at the tail end of March and Matt and I are thinking of going on a short little roadtrip. So I have exciting things coming and I have goals and hobbies – I think maybe it’s just interesting to me that now that I’m an adult, I need to create these hobbies, experiences, and goals?

Elyse was visiting a few weeks ago and we went hiking on Sunday. Before we got off the couch to go, we laughed a little about the fact that if we wanted to go, we needed to get off the couch and go ourselves! I don’t know if I’m explaining this well at all haha but there’s no parent to say, “Hey, who wants to go hiking today!” or to suggest anything really! I’m the one in charge and it’s different!Manassas Battlefield

 

My parents and one of my sisters came to visit this weekend and I laughed to myself as it got closer to dinnertime and I waited for my mom to start dinner in my kitchen!!! In all honesty, it was late and I was tired, so if I had been home alone I probably just wouldn’t have eaten, which might have contributed a little to my reliance on her. But still! I really should have been the one up and catering to my guests. I’m imagining that I’ll fall more into that role as I get older and more established on my own, but who knows, maybe I’ll always wait for my mom to cook dinner no matter where I live (somehow I don’t think she’d love that lol).

So, in conclusion, finally, all in all, and overall (we worked on conclusion words last week)…everything is GOOD!!!!!! I’m doing my thing…everything is good…and that’s that.

Amen. (I don’t know. It felt like it needed a more important ending.)

Thoughts

Lucky

I’ve never been told that I’m not good enough or that I won’t succeed. I’ve never felt that I was on my own or that I couldn’t do something that I set my mind to.

I read a facebook status today that mentioned all of these things. It mentioned that people try to pull you down in life and that you need to keep going. As I read it I thought, “who would tell people that they aren’t good enough or that they won’t succeed?” I couldn’t even imagine hearing those things or knowing someone who would say those kind of things. At first I thought that it can’t be that bad, and that maybe this person was feeling this way without reason. But you know what? I bet it can be that bad, I bet people do say those kinds of things, I bet people do feel this way at times.

And, as for me, I know that I’m so so lucky. To have never felt this way and to have a hard time imagining it? While it does leave me feeling sheltered and a little guilty, I know that I should rejoice in these feelings of support and acceptance. I’m so lucky and so so blessed.

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Thoughts

Summer Job

I’ve learned so so much this summer. I worked at a summer camp for two summers before this one, but the structure was completely different. Previously, I had 11 first grade boys in my group with myself as the senior counselor and 4 other junior counselors. We followed a weekly schedule and brought our group to each pre-assigned activity (i.e. Nature, Music, Art, Drama, Cooking, Swim, etc.). Each activity also had its own teacher, so my job was really to oversee behavior and safety for my 11 boys.

This year, I’m a supervisor at a camp that is run very differently. We have six counselors (me and my co-supervisor plus four other counselors) to oversee 40 kids. The six of us not only watch out for the safety of the kids but we also plan the days completely and facilitate everything that happens. I didn’t realize how easy I had it when I was just able to bring my 11 boys to music class and sit with them in a circle while someone else facilitated that block of time. It’s just crazy to me how in charge we really are, we do everything from first-aid (at my old camp we had a camp nurse!) to managing all behavior problems, both big and small. With camp running from 7am-6pm everyday (and with the counselors coming in staggered 8-hour shifts), our schedule mainly looks like this:

Morning free time

Group activities

Lunch

Free Time

Group activities

Reading Time

Snack

Free Time

We also have two pool days a week and we watch a movie every Friday.

I have learned SOO much this summer. Near the beginning of camp, I was given lots of advice by lots of different people. Two things I remember hearing were that I was to present my expectations of my campers to my campers and to be stricter in the beginning. I certainly knew that I had heard these things before and that they made sense, but it really took the hands-on experience of this summer to SHOW me that these things are true. As for being stricter in the beginning, I really feel that I had a good grasp on that throughout the summer. The campers all respond well to me and I have a great balance of tough/kind (in my own opinion at least!) I appreciate that they do listen to me (because I have seen them completely disobey some of my co-counselors) and I also appreciate the fact that they still feel that they can play with me and give me hugs and have a good relationship too. I honestly can’t look back at my behavior and pinpoint just how I created this balance (with this group of kids at least), but I am glad that this worked out so well for me this summer.

As for presenting expectations, this is something that I didn’t really understand the need for at the beginning of the summer. A few weeks ago though, as I was looking at the craft table that looked like a tornado had just ransacked it for the 20th time, I realized the need for explicitly stating at the beginning of the year that THIS is how the craft area should look. On that day, I cleaned everything up and put it all in a specific place. The next day, I presented the table to the campers and explained where each supply was kept and that the table should always be cleaned up to look like it did right then. Since that day, I have not had to clean up the craft table and I was very happy to see how effective this was. (I’m sure that things won’t always be this easy, but I’m glad that sometimes they are!) I also implemented a policy (after consulting all of my co-counselors), that stated that if a toy was not put away properly when it should have been cleaned up, it would be taken and kept behind the counselor table for one week. We only had to clean up/take away a few toys before I could see this policy working as well.

Although these aren’t huge things, they are things that I want to remember learning. This whole summer has been such an awesome learning experience and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to get so much out of my job. As I told my mom the other day, as long as the campers are having fun and staying safe, anything that my co-supervisor and I learn through trial and error only benefits us all as we learn to be better teachers in the future.