Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What a week!!

Well folks...we are officially moved into our new house! We are not however officially done with all our little projects. I am told this is considered the norm for new homeowners - having lots of little projects here and there. You should know by now my OCD won't be able to handle much of that but so far I am doing okay, even with the unfinished rooms and piles and piles of boxes that are currently in my life.

Here's a sneak peak of the (very) unfinished product - pre-clutter! (Hey, we're getting there!)

Our living/dining room.

Our laundry room (potentially my favorite room in the house!)

Our master bedroom.

The fact that we leave tonight for the Dominican Republic could be part of my nonchalant attitude. That's right - I am off for a relaxing week at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana, DR and I could not be more excited!! Robbie and I went last summer for our honeymoon and LOVED it. So much so, that when my mom and stepdad mentioned a family vacation we petitioned to go back!

 Romantic Dinner for Two

I'm particularly excited for several different reasons:

1. It's absolutely gorgeous there. The all-inclusive drinks, food, and activities don't hurt either.

2. This will be the first big family vacation we've taken since my parents got divorced and the first family vacation we've taken as the Steberts (our blended family name) - all 7 of us! It's going to be GREAT!! We all get along really well and have a blast together even when we're just sitting around the kitchen table. Being in paradise is going to be wonderfullllll and so much fun!

Now, I will admit, there's a teeny tiny part of me that's going to be itching to get back and decorate my house. We're finally in the fun part of remodeling - decorating!! And there's going to be an even bigger part of me that's going to miss my furbabies.

Speaking of furbabies....

We took our precious little pups to the beach last week!

Roxy (our black lab) has been before and LOVES it. She is definitely a beach bum.

But this was Willow's very first time. Apart from a dreadful experience in the bathtub...

she's never really been in the water so we weren't really sure how she would react.

Although there were a few moments like this...

overall, I think she liked it. The best part was that they were so well-behaved. I know, that could be the anal retentive teacher in me but I get so proud when my babies (four-legged or not) are on their best behavior.

Dog Days of Summer

They'll go off for their own vacay in Kinston with Robbie's parents for the week while I'm lounging on the beach with an ice cold drink in my hand. Ahhh...

If I had been more organized I would have scheduled some guest bloggers for ya while I'm gone (I love when other bloggers do that) but you know me....maybe next time!

Until then, I'll see you dolls in a week with some great vacation stories!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study

I swore up and down I wasn't going to be a teacher again until August. This girl needs a break. However, (as predicted by my husband and anyone who knows me really) I have had a hard time keeping my brain away from school. 

Especially when I found this great Daily 5 Book Study linky party over at Lory's Page

(I've never been a part of a linky party so bear with me as I continue to figure it all out.)

I am on such a Daily 5 kick right now I couldn't help but break my summertime rule and join in on the fun. I student taught in Raleigh, NC right as the Daily 5 fever broke out and was fortunate to be apart of the whole learning/launching process in a Kindergarten classroom. It was new - and as with most new things, a little overwhelming, especially when we thought about Kindergartners "reading to themselves". But by the end of the year, we were all in love! And I was really eager to start Daily 5 in my own classroom....

....which kind of happened. I just finished my first year, teaching Third Grade, in New Bern, NC, where Daily 5 hadn't quite picked up yet. Because it was really all I had seen and because I had had so much training in it, there were definitely certain aspects of the Daily 5 present in my classroom this past year. But I'll admit, I was scared to go in full force by myself. 

This year is going to be a completely different story. I actually just finished a book study at school with a group of teachers who have caught the bug and are excited to officially start Daily 5 next year. 

If you're not hooked after reading Chapter 1 (which everyone can relate to and probably has very similar stories to share) then read it again. Because I promise, you'll like what you hear. And take it from someone who has seen it happen - it works!!!

Like I said, the routines in my classroom this year were sprinkled with Daily 5. We had I-Charts explaining the Teacher's Job and the Student's Job during reading stations and we had a "stamina clock" that we tried to beat. But next year I would like to be even more systematic. We didn't do a lot of rotating through the stations and my mini-lessons were poop. I think starting at the beginning and being very VERY consistent throughout will be a huge help next year. My reading block went through a lot of changes this year so it was hard to get our time line down pat. 

My biggest question, as we continue reading, is how to find a better way to align our Daily 5 time and my mini-lessons to our standardized testing at the end of the year. I never, ever want to teach to the test, but there is a certain amount of prep-time that needs to go into it. This year I would spend about 30-45 minutes on a lesson, going over our particular skill with some type of activity, and then we'd go into center rotations for the rest of our 90 minute block. But this isn't how Daily 5 lays it out and I didn't love doing it that way, it's just what worked. Help?!?

If you're interested in reading and sharing, head on over to Lory's Page and link up! I think this is going to be fun!



P.S. I'm working on three other posts in my drafts waiting to be published, so stay tuned ha!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The wait is over!

It's summer time! And folks, I am one happy girl. 

I apologize I have been MIA from the blog has been a cuh-razy past few weeks - end of year school celebrations, weddings, graduations, birthdays, house renovations, oh my. I'll try to give you all the juicy details, while also keeping it short and sweet. 

Over Memorial Day weekend (I know, it feels like forever ago) Robbie and I ventured to Fayetteville to see this sweet couple say "I Do"

I went to school with Morgan and she is just the sweetest! The wedding was absolutely perfect, they are so in love, and she looked stunning (like Wedding Day Barbie!) 

I of course had a wonderful time with my sweetheart, and it was a nice break for us both from all the work we've been doing on the house. 

How is the house going, you ask? Well....we're getting there. I feel like I've been painting trim for the past one hundred years. 

We've started laying the floor, which is the last BIG step before we start moving in. Yay!

The last two weeks of school were pure insanity. I miss the days when school was out before Memorial Day. Between EOG re-testing, threatening tropical storm warnings, an Awards Ceremony, an end of year Talent Show, and all the fun end-of-year Pinterest-inspired activities, it's all been kind of blur. 

One thing I did that my kids LOVED was a Summer Time Countdown. I had seen the idea on several different blogs and kind of combined it all to make it work in my own classroom. I put different treats and activities in a basket and, starting with 10 days left of school, we drew one strip each day. I'll see if I can put some of the different activities up here for y'all, but they were super simple things that the kids went crazy for. (Like lunch in the classroom, bubble gum, extra recess time, etc.) It was a lot of fun, and a great way to promote positive behavior. Only those who made good choices got to participate in the activity. 

I also made a video for my kids that we watched on the last day of school using pictures I had taken throughout the year. It was a great way to remember allllll the things we had done together and to see how much my sweet babies had grown!

Of course they got a little summertime treat.

(idea found here)

Kool-Aid, crazy straws, and a wish for a "Krazy Kool Summer". 

We also made this for my part-time teacher assistant (who has been a HUGE lifesaver this year.)

*Both of those gifts were Pinterest inspired. I can only wish I was that creative on my own.

Then my kiddos were sent home to enjoy their summer and hopefully not forget all their multiplication facts before fourth grade next year. My classroom got packed up and semi-cleaned, ready for the cycle to begin again in August. 

And I got ready to enjoy my summer, spending lots of time in one of these...


out on the beautiful Trent River.

But the official end of school/start of summer hasn't been the only thing worth celebrating recently. My baby brother Carter graduated from high school last weekend.

New Bern High School Class of 2012

And as we do with most things in my family, we celebrated all weekend long with delicious food, lots of laughs, and great company.

It was also my sweet Memom's 80th birthday which only added in the celebrations. 

Like I's been an eventful past few weeks. I would like to say things are going to slow down soon, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I promise to try extra extra hard to keep up with the blogging so I can share my exciting news with you as it's happening instead of days and weeks later. Here's to hoping!



Monday, June 4, 2012

20/30: Childhood Moments

20/30: Describe three significant memories from your childhood.

1. Number one, hands down - becoming a big sister. My brother was born when I was 4 and I was convinced that he was my baby. I had wanted a baby brother or sister for sooooo long. (I even asked Santa for one.) I remember kissing my mom's pregnant belly goodnight and making cards in pre-school for my new baby brother. Growing up, we've always gotten along and had the most fun together. We've always taken care of each other and been each others' biggest fans. Even though he's now 18, 6'4", and graduating from high school next weekend, I still picture him as my sweet, buck-tooth baby brother. I couldn't be more proud of the man that he's becoming and am so thankful for him and the relationship we share.

2. Moving to New Bern. This is also a distant memory because I was only 3. But I have snippets of clear memories of the whole moving process. The first was being really concerned about a boy moving into my old room. The thought of Batman action figures replacing my pink Barbies was really hard for my 3 year old brain to comprehend. I also remember spending the first night in our new house. Mom, dad, and I ordered pizza and slept in the living room in sleeping bags (because nothing else was unpacked). I thought it was the coolest thing ever! Obviously, my whole life started once we moved to New Bern, so moving was a pretty significant thing.

3. Summer beach trips with the Carters. We used to go to the beach for a week every summer with family friends from Durham. My parents started the tradition with a group of couples they knew through work before we were even born. It morphed into so many different things over the years, but one thing it remained was a great time spent catching up with great friends. Carter and I used to look forward to this trip for weeks. I remember strategically packing and planning all the fun things we were going to do together! I have very fond memories of days spent on the beach with my "extended family".



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Parent Volunteer Gift

Yes, I am still alive....barely.

These past few weeks have been a blur of craziness and I have been a terrible blogger in the process. I have felt like the energizer bunny on speed and am definitely ready for a break. I promise to update you on all the excitement once I have a few seconds to breathe.

Until then, I do have to share the AMAZING parent volunteer gift my kids made.

We don't have a ton of parent volunteers at our school, however the ones we have are wonderful!!! I have a mom who comes in every Friday and has been such a huge help and become a great friend! I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when she walks through the door. And of course, my kids love her.

I wanted to give her something simple, yet functional and sentimental for an end of the year "thank you" gift. So, naturally, I turned to Pinterest. And I found a ton of really great ideas.

But....I wasn't really crazy about any of them. Nothing I found felt quite right. Until I found the cutest pitcher at Target. And it hit me: thanks for PITCHING in this year!

My kids all signed their name, we added some lemonade (her favorite summertime drink), and voila - super cute parent volunteer gift. Complete with a "pun-derful" saying!

She loved it by the way!