Saturday, August 31, 2013

My little helpers

Well, a full week of school has come and gone - what a busy week.  I'm finding one of the hardest transitions is not being able to go back to the school to work once the kids are in bed.  So, Friday's have turned into Leif going to pick up the kids and then coming back to the school.  Meanwhile, I'm frantically getting as much stuff done as I can.  I love having my kiddos at school with me - as you can see Mister was enjoying being a student - well, he actually tried to eat the colored pencil, but at least he didn't go color on the walls right?

At the end of the busy Friday afternoon, the kiddos love to ride in the elevator at our school.  So, here they are - notice how Sister is helping by caring my lunch bag.

I'm also hoping this photo will help give a perspective on how tall the two are getting.  It seems like this last week, they each grew at least and inch.  I keep telling them that we don't get our first pay check until September 15th so they need to slow down on the growing so I can afford to go get them new clothes! 

What better way to end a busy week - sharing a bedtime snack and watching Dora on the iPad.  These two can be the best of friends (but also the worse of enemies sometimes too!).  It was a challenging week, but I'm so thankful for moments like these that remind me about the important things in life.  

 Sister is starting to ask us to sound out words and we jokingly told her to count to 100 on our way to day care one morning- she made it to 40 without any help! YIKES!?!  Mister - he's starting to get more words out - he definitely says "Momma" when he wants me and "peezze" when he would like something.  Just this weekend we were playing with a toy camera and he'd give a little pose and say "cheezzze" - so stinking cute.  He's definitely got the word dog down and let's not forget tractor.  The boy is crazy about his tractors since our trip to the farm this summer. 

Looking forward to the long weekend - catching up on much needed rest and hoping to get a little ahead on school work so that next week won't be so stressful.  

Wishing you all a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eklunta Lake - Twin Peaks Hike

Eklunta Lake

After a busy week of preparing for the start of school and then having students arrive on Wednesday, my mental and physical health were in need of sometime in nature.  A dear friend invited me to go on a hike with her this afternoon at Eklunta Lake - which is just north of my house about half an hour.  We took the Twin Peaks trail and it was just what my mental and physical health needed.  

We enjoyed our afternoon hike very much - Bailey is currently sleeping by the side of my bed snoring!  I think she needed the "run in the woods" as much as I did. 

I realized as I was starting to think about what I was going to blog about this week that I did not take any pictures of the kiddos!  So this morning before I went on the hike, I took some shots of what our weekends entail.

Sleeping in!  YAHOO!!!
During the school week, we are up bright an early between 6 and 6:15 to give us ample time to eat breakfast together and then out the door to Leinna's "School" in time for Momma and Papa to commute in to work.  So it's a great blessing to have the kiddos sleep until 8:00am on the weekends.  I don't sleep in but, I do enjoy that extra quiet time in the morning to work on whatever I want without being interrupted :O) 

You will often find Lukkas on the floor nose to nose with Bailey telling her stories, or trying to snuggle into her.  She usually doesn't sit still long enough for me to snap a picture and even this one is a little blurry.  She's so good with him and just walks away and he usually chases her around for a few minutes.  Bailey just doesn't understand that what Lukkas has to say is very important!

My little laundry helper - we taught her how to start the dryer and she LOVES to put the wet clothes in the dryer and turn it on all by herself.  I hope she'll continue to love to do laundry in 10 years :0) 

Okay - so this picture doesn't really show what I was hoping to capture- but it's still a stinking cute photo of Mister!  I was hoping to capture how wet the front of his shirt is.  Houston- we have another tooth - that makes all 4 molars and two bottom teeth since middle of June.  He's doing pretty well with all these teeth popping out at once.  He's beyond drooly and only 1 or 2 nights did we give him a little Tylenol to help him sleep.  Otherwise, he's been a trooper and just popping those teeth out!  

Well- I was up late working on school work - I was behind on some things already - so I invested in a late night tonight in hopes of a smooth week.  There are many, many things to adjust to at our new school that I just wasn't anticipating.  However, now that I have some faces and personalities to go with names - I'm ready to dive in and take this challenge head on.  Also, while hiking in such a beautiful spot today, I was reminded of how much beauty there is in life and my job is only a part of it.  So, as I go into this new week, I'm focused on doing my very best during the work day, but then after that, my job is to enjoy my family and the beauty of nature surrounding me. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The School Year has started!

Welcome to Clark Middle School
Thursday marked our first official day at Clark Middle School. Leif and I have been attending various trainings and spending time in our classrooms before the first official day, but having everyone present in the building sure made things more real.   I'm excited about the up-coming year and feel like it's going to be a year full of professional growth.

This is the commons area as you walk into our school - IT'S HUGE!! I think this area alone is the close to the size of half of the high school in Cordova.  The basic layout of the school is the gym and music classes are what you see in the picture.  I'm standing at the top of the staircase.

Each grade level (6th, 7th and 8th) is per floor and set up in a long hallway with team pods. To the right of the trash can is a pod - which has a science, social studies, language arts and math teachers.  There are 3 pods per grade level.  Did I say this school is HUGE?!? 

My classroom is about 1/4th of the way down the 8th grade hallway. It's smaller than my former classroom, but I'm also only teaching students who need special education services for math. 

The view from my classroom window is pretty amazing.
 I'm thankful to be able to see the mountains.

I'm also thankful for this beautiful evening sky.  I love how even though I'm in a new part of Alaska, the sky and sunsets are still amazing.  This past week our dear friend from Cordova, Shannon, was able to take some vacation and came to stay with us.  We had work/training during the day, but it worked out that Shannon was able to do the things she needed to do.  We then spent the evening hanging out with kiddos and taking walks with the dogs.  It was great to have her visit and we miss her very much already!

Finally, while Leif and I have been busy getting ready for the new school year, I think the kids have grown two more feet each!  We went through 4 gallons of milk this past week and Shannon doesn't drink milk!  YIKES!!  Kids are definitely in a growth spurt right now and it's so much fun to see the things they are learning to do.  It's also exhausting because some of their new things are not behaviors that we would like to continue.  Leinna is doing better with new day care. We decided to call it school and she is allowed to wear her backpack each day.  We needed to do something to make it seem a little different than our wonderful provider from Cordova.  Wearing the backpack and our new provider started doing "projects" with her to take home - these things seemed to help ease the morning cries about not wanting to go.   Lukkas is busy cutting more teeth - you can definitely see the 3 molars coming in now and it looks like another bottom tooth is pushing its way up. 

Well, another week has passed and next week the students will be in the building Wednesday morning.  I'm excited and nervous  - really looking forward to taking some professional growth ideas that I haven't been willing to try before because, well, it's all just excuses on why I haven't done it before.  The point is, I feel like I have a clean start and either I'm going to fall in love with teaching again, or I'm going to learn that this is not for me.  

One last thought- have you ever been in a place where you felt like you were suppose to be there for a very specific reason.  That's how I feel every time I walk into Clark. I'm not sure what the reason is yet, but I'm going to keep my eyes, mind and heart open to "whatever" the reason is for why I'm in this position this year.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to school lack of photo week!

Whew... talk about getting back into the swing of things.  First full week of kiddos at day care and Leif and I had several new teacher orientations to attend.  
So, part of this new life in Eagle River involves early mornings to get kids to daycare and for Leif and I to make the commute into Anchorage. It's only about 12 miles total, but there's a lot of commuting for the military bases in the area.

 I was pleasantly surprised to see this sunrise one morning - with all the houses near by, I sometimes forget to stop and look up to see what the sky is doing.  This morning's view reminded me that even though I'm in the city, nature is still all around me and just as beautiful - I just need to look for it in a different way.

Mister is my little morning man - he's usually giving me the morning news report by 5:45am - this includes a lot of babbling, smiles and the occasional giggle. Sister use to be this way, but has changed to saying, "I'm still tired - 5 more minutes." Oh - talk about turning into her father's child!  Leinna also seems to have difficulty falling asleep at night. I'm hoping that as things settle into more of routine, she'll fall asleep earlier. We have her in bed no later than 8:30 - and she's usually still awake at 9 :o(   She's also boycotting her nap, which we ask her to just lay down and rest - she doesn't have to close her eyes, but at least just rest. Also, she says she doesn't want to go to daycare, but when we pick her up in the afternoon she's all talkative about what she did.  I'm hoping the "I don't want to go" is just part of the transition - which is two fold - one, away from Momma and two, realizing its a new daycare person. 
Who knew brushing teeth could be so fun!

Like my title says, "Back to school lack of photo week" - when I sat down to update the blog, I realized I haven't taken many pictures this week.  I did snap a photo with my phone of the fireweed starting to change colors.  It looked much better in person, of course, but still a true sign that summer is coming to an end.

School officially starts for Leif and I on Thursday the 15th this week.  We have some more new teacher training to attend before the 15th though, which is okay - keeps us all in the routine of getting up early and such.  Students start back on August 21st - yikes! Before you know it, it's going to be Christmas break already.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Last week of summer 2013

As we start to find ways to make Eagle River seem a bit like home, we soon realized we were enjoying our last week of summer.  Today, Monday August 5th, the kiddos went to their new day care and Leif and I went to a voluntary new teacher orientation at our school.   This past week we finished our unpacking and spent quality time with the kids.

Each morning, I wanted to see what the traffic was going to be like for a commute into work. So, we drove into Anchorage at 7:00am. We learned it will take us about 15-20 minutes to get to work.  Once we were in Anchorage, we decided we'd head over to Lake Hood - one of Leif's favorite spots.  The kids love the simple old swing set and seeing all the float planes take-off and land. 

We also took nightly walks around our neighborhood - I'll have to get use to street lights and lamps obstructing the view - but it's a very pretty area to live in.

We also found some huge dirt piles at the end of the road by our house. The road is a dead end and so it's very safe to just let the kids climb the hills and play in the dirt.  We had a few odd looks from people who turned onto the last/only street before the dead end - but who cares.  My kids love their dirt!

I find it rather adorable that Leinna would rather play in the dirt than smell flowers and Lukkas would rather walk in a patch of flowers than play in the dirt.  The boy loves his flowers and was in flower heaven when we found this patch of wild daisies growing in a field. 

Our days were busy and with the early morning to get use to a school schedule - it also meant earlier bedtimes for everyone!  Lukkas graduated to a big boy bed since returning from Wisconsin. 

I'm not 100% sure why he likes his blanket over his head - but he's smart enough that he leaves himself a breathing pocket - makes me nervous - but if I try to move the blanket down he just pulls it back over and if I take the blanket off - he's restless - so it is what it is.

It promises to be a week of more transitions as the kids get use to a new day care provider, the dog gets use to being alone all day, and we get back into the swing of school.