Monday, May 27, 2019

Sayonara School Year, Hola Summer Break!

The fun has arrived! It's finally summer and I am elated! 

End Game

As one of the last official scottsdale office events, Clearlink rented out a theater and we watched Avengers. It was good but also sad that those specific clear link people wouldn't be getting together again. Truthfully- I wasn't obsessed with the movie but since I could tell everyone around me was I just pretended like I was into it. I have missed to many of the movies leading up to it to fully appreciate it I guess. 

I made the 2018 book finally. Procrastinated it long enough and apparently I've been doing it all wrong by going through shutter fly. There was a company called printerpix on groupon and I got it for a total of like 15 bucks. Normally I spend like 60 bucks! So now we have 8 books.

Happy 6th Birthday Jojo!

4/20 and she was 6. We made sure she had a good day.
Isn't it crazy?! When I look at pictures of Jake I can tell it's him, but I don't feel like her puppy pictures look like her at all!

She got her hair done (because what dog doesn't love being poked, prodded, things shoved up their butts, sprayed, and hair pulled? Ya what a treat.) Our groomers love the J's though, they get excited when they come and they sang happy birthday to her so she forgave them :)
We went to Petsmart and that's always a hit for them lol 
And of course we did a photo shoot
And they got a fancy dinner. That is Josie taking both his and her toys and Jake letting her do it since it was her b day. He's a sweetheart.

Easter - AZ - 2019

This was the first year that we swam on Easter! We had Chaz here with us and that made it even more fun!
Glorious day in the sun!
We ate chipotle and they hung up new misters
Josie in her natural state
The first jump in the frigid water!
They thought I was so dumb but I made us eat at the table because I got a real fresh flower centerpiece :)
We had spaghetti and then watched ellen's game of games. Pretty good easter.
So weird to think how fast time has flown. This was us on Easter in 2013....  hahaha Kinda funny how my hair is cyclical. My hair is the same length now as it was then, it's never different either long or shoulder length. 

3rd Times a Charm maybe?

Okay I know I say a lot of things on here that you don't believe because they don't actually happen (i.e. "we're moving to Nebraska," or "I'm running a half marathon" lol) But this is the 3rd time I've tried so this time has got to work. I am officially giving up on eyelash extensions. So we'll see if Dallin leaves me. lol But this is why. I'm over all the wasted time and money. I appreciate your support as I work through the steps of giving up my addiction. 

Chelsea's Birthday Extravaganza

So Riah and Kenzie decided to do a Clue themed bar crawl for Chelsea's birthday. Everyone got a partner and a character. It was a picture scavenger hunt and if you got the pictures you got the clue, then at the end everyone had to guess. It was really fun! We went to 6 different places in downtown gilbert, and some of the pictures were really funny. 
Invitation & Bathroom selfie

Playing a game, with the bartender

Doing a heel click with someone

People eating Lady and the tramp style, handstand contest

Dancing with a stranger
 These are some cute group shots of us. The second one we're all laughing because the guy taking the picture said, "Wow 4 of you are so hot," and Kenzie said "No all 6 of us are hot." Then he proceeded to follow us all the way to car so that was creepy.

Speaking of Riah....

Andi is getting bigger! On the left was me holding her at auditions, and the right was a more recent pic. What a cutie.

We're not 22 anymore.

It was funny how we all wanted to go home when it was like midnight and the next day we were all tired. This was me recovering from a night of partying. (Massager, mask, pjs, white collar)

The Boat and the Graffs arrive!

Dave is letting us borrow his boat for the summer so him and selena and her bf drove it down. 
We had a good time!

Be still my heart...

In this picture Josie had burrowed her way into the pile of blankets herself. She was  all covered and cute and sleeping and stayed there for a while because she was so comfortable. Of course the picture doesn't do it justice.

The "Work Hard" part that has to happen before the "Play Hard"

April and May are hard for me at work. The last couple months before school is over everyone is ready to be done, there are no extra days off, and the concert is coming up so it stressful. Usually during the rest of the year girls rotate from guy to guy and during concert time everyone stays with their partner and does the same dances over and over again. This makes everyone testy because we're all sick of each other and the monotony of the situation. Inevitably, there was so much drama with multiple things and I actually had a full break-down at work. Like in front of the students. Yeah, professional I know. Luckily, Jeff, Jackie, and Chelsea were there for me and it all worked out. Without getting into details, I learned that some people will never be happy and that's on them, not on you. So anyway, getting ready for concert was rough, and I wasn't perfect at handling it. I know that next year I will need more variety some how and more attention to detail and fun ways of implementing feedback. I felt like we would do the dances over and over again but even when I said corrections no one ever applied them and it was the same thing every time. 

But anyway, the rainbow always comes after the rain. We had teacher appreciation and my students made me feel loved. Dallin really helped me through a lot of it. He wrote me that note by my coffee, students left me notes, and I opened the letter he wrote me 6 years ago for whenever I had a long day. That was super cool. I remember writing those letters and doing one for our 5 year anniversary feeling like that was forever away and now it's in like 2 months. 
We had a guest teacher come in and teach for a day and that was a really valuable experience for both me and the kids. She was so good and everyone learned a ton! I am definitely applying as many of her ideas as possible. Harry always kept a smile on my face, a kid gave me that plaque for a week and then we passed it on to the next teacher.

We had Sparkx from Exile come to class. He is a professional dancer in a hip hop group and they've been on World of Dance. It was soo cool to see him do some of his tricks, and he had really inspirational things to tell the kids about getting ready for their performance. He also taught one of the kids a new hip hop move.
Most of the kids- probably 90% of them, really make everything worth it. They made me smile on the rough days, asked me how I was doing, and worked hard. 
I made these posters the weekend before the concert and it was actually really fun. It made me realize that I miss crafting. I cut a circle out of white paper, put tin foil in grey paint and spotted it on,  and that made it look like a moon with craters. It turned out so cute. After that I had the kids in each hour sign it on the bottom and we hung them up in the hallways. I also made a 9 minute long video compilation of pictures and videos.
 This was the show order for the show. It was a lot. I had a little bit of help, but truthfully it was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. lol We had several drop out that I had to find last minute replacements for, and it was really hard to remember all 21 of the dances if anyone had questions. We had 300 pre-teens to manage who have never performed before, and only one day to practice on the stage before the show. Yeah, it was tricky. 
This was the first time that we tried to run the bows that go at the end of the show. It ended up way better during the actual show, but this will give you an idea of the sheer pandemonium. So. Many. People. I asked 7 moms to come help both nights and we ended up with like 3. 
If you think that's bad enough, we had to use classrooms as dressing rooms, they were upstairs to try and prevent the noise of all the people, but without the 7 moms helping that system doesn't work and they don't know when to come down to perform. Luckily our fine arts students rock and a ton volunteered to help. And we did have some other adult help from people who just saw a need and decided to jump in- bless them. So I did have help- but just in a different way than I thought. We also had to give out T shirts but get them back from people. I had students number them, & of course they numbered them wrong. I assigned everyone a number and then no one could find their number, so they just grabbed one, and without the moms handing them out or getting them back the whole thing was a fiasco.
I bought this cute backdrop on amazon for only like 12 bucks and then a student wrote our theme on it. So cute! Anyway, so the dress rehearsal was people running everywhere and not everyone being on top of it the first time but the 2nd run through was luckily a good one. The day of the show I worked a 16 hour day in high heels. This was how it turned out- 
We didn't do pre-sale tickets, and the line wrapped all the way across the campus. Our auditorium holds 780, and we started pulling in chairs from classrooms to try and help. After we crammed as many in as possible, we still had a line but we just started the show. The principal and his wife and Dallin and Chelsea's mom kept asking us what we're going to do, and finally the principal went up on stage after the 3rd dance. The dancers thought they were about to go so they just ran off and he started telling the audience we still have a lot of people waiting so we are going to do a 2nd show after this one. Please let your kids stay and perform in that one. So all those poor people who couldn't get in had to wait an hour and then they came in. One class made a mistake and went on too early when it wasn't their song, and hurried to run off. I realize that was partially my fault too that I didn't catch it. The second run through there were a lot of people who were unselfish and flexible and stayed to give the second audience just as good of a show as the first. There were some who weren't that way, or were immature in some way, but once again I'd say that 90% were awesome. They mostly all adjusted perfectly and just did their best with missing people or filling in for others, offering costumes or doing what they can. We were able to make a lot of money for the dance program, and it seemed like for the most part all the parents were understanding of the situation. It was my first time ever producing a full-fledged show, and it was with 300 beginners, so like I said it wasn't perfect. But all in all I would say it was a success and everyone seemed proud of the kids. Moving forward I know what to beware of so that it goes smoother, and it won't be as stressful. It was a lot of work, but it made us feel so good that we were that popular! We had an audience of about 1,000 people! 

I got flowers from Dilly and from the kids. He was sooooo helpful both nights. Always doing whatever was needed and he gave so much time. Chelsea's mom and grandma were saying how lucky I got because he is such a gem. He was helping sell tickets to tons of people who were antsy to get in and just being polite and fast. He recorded dress rehearsal so that I could show my classes the next day, and he helped clean up at the end of the night. It was really helpful because we didn't get out of there until like 11!
After the concert was over, I slept and laid around for like 2 solid days. I am not kidding, I have never felt so relieved. That was harder than Miss Utah. (actually... hmm. Maybe just the same) It was so rewarding to have done myself! It wasn't like I thought it would be. I thought I would get to see the decorations, watch the dances, and be all nostalgic. But it wasn't like that at all. More like running around like a chicken with my head cut off and catching small glimpses. But what I saw was really cute, especially of the 2nd show when they rose to the occasion even though the situation was hard. 

End of School Year Journaling (feel free to scroll past this if you find it boring- it's mostly for myself.)

These quotes sum up why I do this blog, and why I write in here after the school year is over. Since this is on the internet for everyone to see, I'm not quite as open as you would be in a diary, but still it's the same concept. It's interesting to go back to the first few entries and see how much we've changed and what was important to me back then. (Sometimes I think I was really weird back then. I'm blaming all the weird things on my quarter-life crisis.)

Once again the school year flew by. This year I can honestly say that I learned a lot. Although this was my 4th year teaching, next year will be the first time I am actually repeating the same thing again so I feel like I can finally improve. Supposedly it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. Since I've moved grade levels, subjects, schools, I feel like I haven't had the opportunity to really hone in on one thing and become awesome at it. That makes me excited for next year. Like most young teachers do, I used to worry too much about what people thought of me. I am now getting over that, so the student surveys this year weren't as hard to swallow. At first there was a tiny bit of shock, but after you boil it down to what is true & what is exaggeration, you're able to get a lot of valuable feedback out of it. When I think about the subject area, the students I'll get every year, and how it all went this year, there are a lot of ways I can improve. I sort of started to figure things out as I went this year but it's way harder to implement change half way through the year so I know next year will be way easier. Whenever problems cropped up and the situation was stressful, at least I was able to figure out a solution so that it won't happen again in the future. Overall, there needs to be more variety and more structure. I learned my strengths and weaknesses but in a non-emotional, problem solving way. The only way I was able to do that was time and getting used to it. My frame of mind changed, it wasn't the students, the admin that evaluated me, or the new subject area. That is a strange fact, but it was all me. I had great admin before, but my own judgement was clouded and my pride was in the way. Thinking of the little things I can change will keep me busy this summer, and it's rewarding to think that year after year I will get better at this and the students will be able to have more fun in my class.
This year I was able to quit coaching. I was able to figure out a balance between work and emotion- sometimes since this job is a labor of love you get too drawn in and you have to remember that at the end of the day it is a job and you should have a life too. I learned that I was still able to have rewarding experiences and relationships without coaching and that coaching was slowly draining me. There were several times this year that I learned that adults can be more idiotic than teenagers. I learned the value of not commenting on everything. I learned that comparing yourself to other people is a dramatic pity-party and a complete waste of time. I learned that strict classroom management often allows them to have more fun, not less. I learned that in the most stressful times it can be the best thing for everyone involved to just take a break and do a team-building games day. I learned that planning everything to a T is a waste of time because things never go to plan. I am going to start moving forward with rough estimates instead. I learned that I am not the best at making decisions under pressure.... lol. I learned to keep things in perspective because at the end of the day- it's not national security, it's middle school dance and it's all gonna work out. I learned to ask a lot of questions when I'm talking to people. And lastly, I was reminded again how lucky I am to work with the coworkers I have and the school I work for. 💛

Now for the "Play Hard" part

This pic is bad because I think I got sunscreen on the camera part of my phone (thats Jess, Dallin & Tina)
This is G, Nick, Dill, Lyle, & D teaching Tina to kneeboard.

Here are videos of Tina trying kneeboarding for the first time and Dallin trying to do a 360

This is Dill and Lyle knee boarding. There is a restaurant at the lake and the food there is so good! It's super convenient and it's a breath-taking view while you're eating. Now you get why the lake is my happy place right? lol 

"This is why our neighbors hate us." -Dill

We got this letter from our HOA for having the trailer parked in the driveway. It is seriously comical the stupid things they care about.

Walking through quicksand backwards

is faster than our fitness progress. lol
This was our first personal trainer and he left so now we have a new one named Wendy. I really like having a trainer I wish I could train with her all the time. 

D's work retreat

This was his cool later tag score- (is it impressive or alarming that he's so good at that? Is it possible that this is like the movie "This means war" and he is secretly not a sales director? lol)
All the managers got a pretty house in st. george and stayed for a few days. He said it was so fun. They went to the casino and won money too!
They went on these razor things again and he always loves that. Beautiful scenery!
I think that's Brian?
They got a lot of cool videos so I put them together in this montage thing
It was  a really pretty house and he came back with new shoes too!

Speaking of work- D's new office!

He won't be going there every day, but sometimes. It's in Chandler, and they only needed a really small space because it's for way less people. But he likes it.

Happiness is easy

All we have to do is turn on music, the misters, get food/drinks, and go outside. 

Shopping with my Gals

I went with Tina and G to get more casual/summer clothes and I actually spent money! haha This was me trying on the weird shoes...
Quote from that pic, "Woah it's invisible- like having windows for your feet!" lol
We also went to dinner :)


Postino's with Friends.
We always have so much fun. We just end up laughing the whole time. (I love how it looks like Lexi has three arms in this photo lol) And arizona has such cool culture/character to it- in Utah you'd rarely ever see wall paintings like that behind us. Downtown Gilbert is so picturesque. 

Game Night!

We played this game where you put on glasses that make it hard to see and do pictionary. We ate dinner and after that played mario cart. It was really fun!

Being in the Present

I read a quote (and of course I can't find it now) but it said that if you're feeling anxiety, fear, or stress you're living in the future. If you're feeling guilt, regret, anger/holding a grudge, you're living in the past. Whenever you're feeling that way remind yourself to live in the present or you'll waste your life away. As I've tried to apply that, it has struck me how often I worry about the future. It has really helped me deal with fear and stress and stuff to think of it that way. I know it sounds simple but I really had never thought of it that way. Now that I'm really focusing on living in the present, I feel so much better. It has helped me so much. 

Plus being on the boat kindof forces you to live in the present. Nature smacks you in the face with it's beauty and you forget about all the stress you had before and everything else feels trivial. 
This is me knee-boarding
Jakey is a sailor 😃 He loves it.
He likes to look out the front of the boat like the titanic lol
AWWWW!! father-son time. Isn't it such a beautiful view too?
It's so funny because Josie just sits in my lap the whole time but Jake seems like he wants to help.

This was this last Saturday (we had so much fun)

Another example of living in the present....

Lexi sent me this pic and I laughed for a solid 2 minutes. That dog is so sweet. :)

Once again...

This time it's been a different experience because I've watched it alone. And it's not nearly as good. 

Jake's not allowed to age

Dallin took Jake to the vet to see about that thing on his nose and they said it could be nothing or it could be cancer... so that's comforting. We just have to watch it to see if it grows. This video was him hiding under the chair at the vet lol 
It's just so crazy to think we've had them this long. I found this old picture of them when we just barely got Josie. Jakey immediately bonded with her and they cuddled all the time. It's weird that this was 6 years ago. It feels like just yesterday but at the same time it feels like so long ago because everything was so different back then. 

Jordan & Michelle's big reveal!

This turned out sooo cool! I'm so happy for them. It was such an authentic, exhilarating reaction and it was heart-warming to be apart of. They're the best. 💙


We went to the lake and had lunch, went to the gym, saw Aladdin and played games with these guys 😃 Happy Memorial Day! It was really fun. We love our friends!
We loved this movie!

Cheers- to living in the present. May you remember that in the coming weeks.