Saturday, November 29, 2014

Celebrate in November!

I'm linking with Ruth Ayres, and her weekly link up.  Read More about that here.  And then join in!

There is extra time to celebrate!  And here's why:

These lines are a screen shot from one of the online classes I was taking.  I'm done.  So much to say, but it doesn't seem celebratory, so we will just celebrate the fact that I'm done!  
I was able to submit everything on Wednesday and enjoy the Thanksgiving celebrations!  

We have our first lost tooth with our youngest!  He was so funny when he realized he had wiggly teeth.  He told everyone in the dentist's office, when I was trapped in the chair getting my teeth clean.  It came out at bedtime on Tuesday.  Mr. and Mrs. Tooth Fairy may or may not have taken a dollar from his piggy bank to give him for his lost tooth.  (We sneaked another one back in there!)
Also, someday when he loses another one, I'll capture his voice and upload it so you can hear how he tells the story.  It's hilarious.

This race takes place at an outdoor museum in Iowa.  It clearly is off-road and 7 miles of joy!  Costumes are encouraged.  Prepare to get muddy, wet and laugh a lot.  On the left--see all the people behind us--we are waiting to cross a creek.  (Or we've just gotten out and we are waiting to climb a hill).  On the right, my darling husband.  This is how we celebrate our running every year, by running this race together.  You can run it for speed if you want to, but clearly we did not this year.  Here's the link to the race if you are interested.  And yes, the beef stew tasted delicious after we finished.  For 6 years I've avoided it, but gobbled it up and would have eaten yours too.  Who knew?  All local, all fun!

I hope you are celebrating too.  


Friday, November 28, 2014

Teacher Runs Winter aka 5 Tips from a Novice on Winter Running

My Story:

I break up with the gym.  (Too stuffy, too predictable, too expensive for me.)
I run through the fall.  Minus a break during conference week, I've been doing pretty good at keeping an outside running routine.
As I ventured outside this morning, a few things came to me on what to do to have a successful running season.  I hope they help you if you choose to venture outside this season:

1.  Get the Gear.
I'm using my technical shirts, trail running shoes, face know..the gear!  You have to be layered if you are running in the Midwest this time of year.  On my wish list are a technical outer coat, and some wool socks.

2.  Realistic Plan
Where I am in the middle of the Midwest, you aren't running mile repeats at 100% right now...unless you wish to skate across the packed snow that has turned into ice and end said running journey.  I do not wish to end my develop a realistic plan for yourself.  Mine looks like this:

  • Sunday and Wednesday:  Rest or 20-30 minutes of yoga.
  • Monday:  15-25 minutes of easy running
  • Tuesday 30-45 minutes of easy running
  • Thursday:  Go for speed.  I'm fond of a 6X3 minute workout with a 10 minute warm up and cool down
  • Friday:  15-25 minutes of easy running
  • Saturday 45-60 minutes of easy running
My plan might not be your plan.  But I'm finding focusing on minutes instead of miles in this weather is allowing me to feel accomplished.  Find one that works for you!

3.  Be Flexible with The Plan.

Yesterday, I woke up thinking I was going to run outside.  Sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions convinced me I'd do better heading to our basement.  (Blerg.)  I didn't want to, but so glad I did.  I did this workout, adapted from Pinterest:
  • 5 minute warm up on the elliptical.
  • Rotate through 10 push ups, 20 squats, 30 sit ups.  (I used a Bosu for the sit ups)
  • 5 minute blast on the elliptical.
  • Repeat 6 times.
  • Eat All The Things at Thanksgiving to Undo This Workout.  :)  
Having some realistic plans as back up will keep me from skipping all together.  

4.  Unplug for a mile or two.

I had to be focused on traffic, the uneven sidewalks, ice and snow.  Take this opportunity to unplug from your devices and run fully focused on what you are doing.  I'm also reveling in my sense of accomplishment and quiet as I run.  

5.  Mind your Mindset.

I love a good mile split.  I had to train myself to not focus on it this summer.  As I'm running this fall into winter, I'm noticing how good the fresh air feels, the fact I didn't fall down as I was running around the icy driveway, the sense of accomplishment.  If you are running in the winter (indoors or out!), that is something to be proud of.  10 minutes or 100 minutes, you get your run on!  

I leave you with one of my favorite motivational quotes:

"If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now.  Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it."  -Pricilla Welch, retired British marathon runner.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#sol14 100 Things.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

In the past few weeks, Stacey Shubitz and Terje on their respective blogs have created such a list. Thanks for the inspiration.   If you have too, that's awesome!  Put a link in my comments, and I'll check it out!  I chose to do mine in a quick write.  (Read-random order, not organized in any way, shape, or form.)

100 Things I'm Thankful For.

1.  A Rooted Faith.
2.  A Husband who is a true Partner in every sense of the word.
3.  Aidan
4.  Thomas
5. My Parents.  I blogged about them here.
6.  Sunrises at the farm.
7.  Sunsets at the farm.
8.  The farm.
9.  Coffee.
10.  Hoodies.
11. Big pillows.
12.  Running.
13.  Running Playlists.
14.  Spotify.
15.  Super Colleagues.  All of them.
16.  Administrators. 
17.  First graders.
18.  Literacy.
19.  Brown Girl Dreaming.
20.  Baseball Bat Moments in my Faith.  
21.  Allergy Medicine.
22.  Access to healthcare.
23.  Technical Running shirts with the "thumb sleeves"
24. Cheese balls.
26.  Brown Girl Dreaming.
27. BRFs.  (Best Running Friends.)
28.  The Library.
29.  Freedom to worship. 
30. Technology.
31.  Feedly
32.  Cookbooks.
33.  Trails.
34.  Family.  
35. My sister.  
36.  Comfortable furniture.
37.  Book stacks around my house.  
38.  The Fireplace Room.
39.  Post it notes.
40.  Cupcakes
41.  My Hairdresser.
42.  Amy.
43.  Tia.
44.  Writing.
45.  Local Bookstores.
46.  Twitter.
47.  Instagram
48.  Warm showers.
49.  New socks
50.  My clothes
51.  Quiet time.
52. Homemade play dough.
53.  Cars
54. Bikes
55.  Art
56. Des Moines
57.  The Zoo.
58.  Pizza Fridays
59.  Pencil sharpeners
60.  Elephant and Piggie
61.  Peppermint Mocha flavored creamer.
62.  Stichfix
63.  Notebooks
64.  Piano.
65. Guitar.
66.  Seward.
67.  Tea Time at night with my 10 year old.
68. Naps.
69.  Praise Bands.
70.  New office supplies
71.  Organized spaces.
72.  Early morning runs.
73.  Driving the scenic route.
74. Mentors.
75.  Colorado
76.  Funny Kids.
77.  Fresh food.
78.  Time.
79.  Yoga.
80. Dogs.
81.  Courage.
82.  Clarity.
83.  Non-existent commutes.  
84.  Grace.
85.  Creating.
86.  Dreams.
87. Dates.
88.  Clean Sheets.
89.  Heritage.
90.  Old Friends.
91. Hospitality
92.  Half Marathons
93.  Good BBQ.
94.  Math.
95.  Exchanging ideas.
96.  Bananas
97.  Picture books.
98.  Slice of Life.  
99.  Grad school.  (Wait.  What?!?!)
100.  The Joy in all circumstances.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slice Of Life-What Can Two Minutes Do?

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.
Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

This summer, I read about the 2X10 behavior intervention here:

It caught my eye, and I was intrigued.  So I tucked it away for later.  Then I read more about it here:

The premise, simply think about the student you need to connect with the most.  Commit to spending 2 minutes with them over the next 10 days.  

And I began to think; what can two minutes really get you?  Does it really make a difference?

Enter Super Colleague.  We brainstorm behavior plans for a student.  One of Those. You know.  Always up to “tell you something.”  Asking what to do, even though you asked them to repeat the directions, and they know what to do.  When they don't have anything to say, they still ask to go to the bathroom.  Wandering in from recess, so maybe, just maybe you’ll notice them and say Something.  We look at cubes and dojos and the like, none of it seems good enough for Li’l One.  So Super Colleague begins the 2x10 challenge.  And two minutes gave her:
                A sense of peace and calm from Li’l One.
                A story from a family that would make your heart break a 1000 times over.
                At the same time, a family that breathed thankfulness at conference time to Super Colleague.  Li’l One goes home and talks about Her Special Time with the teacher.  2 minutes
                A Super Colleague, who in the midst of working through many more challenges can see the power that two minutes brings, and knows she's made a difference.  

Confession:  I hadn't even tried this yet myself, and I’m telling everyone else they should?  As I look around, I realize they all have stories.  So I sit down yesterday next to My Li’l Ones for two minutes and learn the following, all from asking, “What’s on your mind?”:
                “I didn't sleep good last night.”
                Question upon question about how trains work, what about electricity, etc.  They were coming so frantically I couldn't keep up!   
                A new student tells me he likes Academic Quiet Time the best, aka “Thinking Time”, because he can write and draw his own thoughts. 
                I learned the puppy, dog, and cat have to be separated and you should not forget to shut the basement door. 
                “I’m feeling more comfortable in first grade.” 

I chose to pick a group of students and just spend two minutes with each of them.   1 at the beginning of the day, the other four during our Academic Quiet time for a total of 10 minutes in my day.  And yes, I carried a timer with me, because I know how quickly 2 minutes can turn into 20 in a classroom.  When our two minutes was up, I simply thanked them for the chat, and moved on to the next student. 

2 minutes is powerful.  Whether you spend 2 minutes with just one student, or pick a handful, it gives you such powerful insight into the lives of your students.   I’m a believer in the power of two minutes.  2 minutes really can change the world.  


Saturday, November 15, 2014


I'm linking with Ruth Ayres, and her weekly link up.  Read More about that here.  And then join in!

It was so fun to pause for a moment and read your celebrations before I wrote my own.  :)  Thanks for continuing to share in this community!

1.  I'm celebrating Book Fair Season!  Thursday, after a long day of conferences, I was able to bring home a book my oldest had wanted.  He had just gotten into bed when I arrived home.  When I handed him the book, he shimmied with delight, turned on his flashlight, and began reading.  The youngest has had his nose in his, trying to "read it" since Friday morning.  :)  

2.  This book:

Even in all the hub-bub that is November, I read this book in two sittings.  It is so powerful.  It also provided some inspiration for writing!  Read this book.  (Buy it from a local book store!)

3.  Date night.  *A Mushy Moment Coming.*  I just marvel at how much my Mr. has done this fall.  I know it's okay, I'm studying and pursuing a Master's degree.  We knew this would happen.  I've expected stress and tension, there's been none.  He's just awesome.  And there's a date night coming, where we get to eat dinner like grown ups.  I might even wash and curl my hair!  :)

4.  Running.  This week I've run at night in the snow, and today I enjoyed a long run before our first "real snow" lands.  I have been collecting winter running gear, so I can head out even when it's less than ideal.  I also have developed a realistic plan that involves minutes, not miles.  That has helped this running teacher.

5.  Wiggly Teeth.  We took our family trip to the dentist yesterday.  My 6 year old was elated to find out he has not one, but two wiggly teeth.  While I was having my teeth cleaned, he manged to share that news with everyone in the office.  (Sorry if you were hoping for a peaceful cleaning.  The ladies kept telling me he was fine, and I was trapped in The Chair.)  Seeing his excitement reminds me of how fun it is to be 6.  :)

6.  Slow Saturdays.  Once again, there was sleeping past 7, a run, time to write, a trip to the library later.  We do this on purpose.  I love it.

7.  Dinner with friends.  Again, "Framily" is the best.  We don't have biological family super close by, so I'm thankful for Sunday Dinners with friends who are the next best thing.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SOL -- Uh-Oh Soup is Born. A Story and Recipe.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

The female member of the household, Mom, emerges from behind her laptop on a Sunday afternoon after a study session lasting 14,345 hours.  Heroically, she announces she will contribute to the household by cooking dinner--A chicken and pasta soup.  All the children cheer and dance.  Glitter is falling from the sky, and all my favorite music is playing in the background...

Okay, really, I just needed to give my eyes a break.  My 3 outlets these days are cooking on Sundays, blogging, and running.  It was Sunday, that means it is time for me to cook!  Fall in the Midwest always asks for a nice warm bowl of soup with a little salad and bread on the side.  Immediately, all the idealism falls away the minute I set foot in the kitchen.  

The valiant husband runs to the basement to get the chicken as she begins to boil the noodles.  When he calls out, "My Love!  There is no more chicken!"  she stops and maybe swears once or twice.  The glitter stops falling, and the music stops playing.  But only for a moment.  

I follow recipes.  I have shelves of cookbooks, Pinterest boards, Binders with photocopies and recipes ripped from magazines.  I follow recipes.  I don't "wing it".  Until now.  

The sun is setting, and the Small One is starting to flop around because it's 4:45 PM and he's STARVING.  Mom rolls up her sleeves, her heart is beating fast, as she looks around the kitchen.  A package of bacon, some ground sausage from the farm, pasta noodles...she makes notes and begins to create.  And Pray.  A lot.  (And maybe swear once or twice again...)  And then the moment of truth.  The Soup is Done.  She places it on the table and holds her breath.  She watches in disbelief as, yes, even the Small One announces this is the "best soup ever" and finishes his bowl.  (If you have a 6 year understand the miracle in this.)

On Sunday, we were calling it "Uh-Oh" Soup because it was supposed to be a chicken and corn soup.  In reality, it turned out to be an Italian flavored Sausage and Pasta soup.  Some directions are below if you are feeling brave.  Disclaimer:  if you like exact measurements, directions, etc. this may not be the recipe for you.  I'm still learning how to cook without a recipe, and probably shouldn't be trying to share that yet.  
A food blogger, I am not.  :)  Good luck.  

Sausage and Pasta soup.  (AKA "Uh-Oh" Soup)

1.  Cook a 1/2 box of pasta, I used small shells.  Drain, and drizzle with olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking.  Set aside.  

2.  While the pasta is cooking, brown a one pound package of ground sausage and cook 4 slices of bacon.  Crumble the bacon after it is cooked.  Set aside.  

3.  Now it's time for a rue.  In a soup pot, cook 1/4 cup of onion in 2T of butter, until the onion is tender.  Add 1/4 Cup of flour.  Stir until mixed well.  

4.  Add 4 Cups of milk.  Stir frequently, and bring to a boil.  (No really, stir frequently, or things will stick.  Happens to me every time.)

5.  When the mixture is boiling, add 1 can of chicken broth.  (It was all I had, maybe veggie broth?)  Also, add 3/4 Cup Alfredo sauce, and one 2 Cup package of shredded cheese.  Stir until the Alfredo sauce is mixed, and the shredded cheese is melted.  At this time, I also added garlic salt and Italian seasonings to taste.  I didn't measure it.  Sorry.  

6.  Stir in pasta, sausage, and crumbled bacon.  Stir until soup is warmed through.  

7.  Serve immediately.  



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Celebrate! November 8.

Discover. Play. Build.

I'm linking with Ruth Ayres, and her weekly link up.  Read More about that here.  And then join in!

A quick Celebration!  Then I'm digging in for the home stretch of a graduate class that has nearly taken me out!  (Let's add that to the celebration...I'm almost done!)

1.  I'm celebrating Baseball Bat moments in my spiritual life.  They really are the best.  I wrote about that here.  

2.  Encouragement that comes at just the right time.  Mine came on Thursday evening.  I hope to give some to someone today or tomorrow.

3.  Winter running schedules.  A technical fleece hoodie showed up at my house this week to remind me it's time for slow, steady running.  (Which could be another blog post about winter in and of itself...slow and steady.)

4.  The Chicken Dance on skates.  Interpretation by Kindergarten Buddies.  Be Still my Heart.  It was one of the cutest things I've seen all week.  

5.  The concept of being Endlessly Patient.  I really could have a regular Spiritual posting on these baseball bat moments.  For now, I'll say, I've been blessed with family that is Endlessly Patient with me as I study All.The.Hours.  

Happy Celebrating!  Joy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#sol14 A Baseball Bat and Grace.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Two Writing Teachers host Slice of Life on their blog.  Join us and link up too!

Last night was a night of tossing and turning.  I was going to skip running and blogging today after such restless sleep.  Things to stew about, worry about, lose sleep over.  

As I settled in to read a bit of a devotional I was still feeling stewish and worrisome.  

The story focus of the devotional was on Joseph.  And the forgiveness that he showed his brothers after they considered killing him, but instead just sold him into slavery.  

When his brothers returned to ask for forgiveness, Joseph responds, (in Kendra's words, maybe not the Bible's)  "Isn't God awesome?  I'll take care of you and your children  Don't worry."  


I'll say that again.  Whoa.  

Now, it's not my intention to give a synthesis or a sermon of this story today, so I'll move on...

I feel like that story was used like a baseball bat might be to get my attention. (Sometimes my spiritual life is like that.)  And it lead me to these thoughts:  (Which lead me to talking to myself...just imagine that for a moment!)

A message to Myself:  (And you too if you need it!)

Forgiveness and Grace:  Show some to the people.  ALL the people.  Even the ones who don't deserve it.  
Even the ones you want to yell at.  The one who found your weaknesses and exposed them to you?  Yep.  That one.  The one who you hardly know?  That one too.  Long time offenses?  Absolutely.  Family too?  Yup.   

Offer Grace and Forgiveness to yourself, even if you don't reconcile.  It will lift the weight from you.  

Then dance it out.  Take care of the people, and the children too.  


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrate! (In Pictures!)

Discover. Play. Build.

I'm linking with Ruth Ayres, and her weekly link up.  Read More about that here.  And then join in!

A Celebration in Photos!  

If you look at the hat and picture below, you can see my family had some excitement around the World Series.  While it was a bummer for us, I loved watching the boys bond, and they said a ton of funny things.  This was snapped right after Perez got hit with a pitch.  Li'l T announced he should have gotten a free home run out of that deal.  :)

A tradition of trick or treating and Halloween fun that has carried on for nearly 13 years now.  (Yes, before kids.)  I celebrate friendships that endure, and all the changes we've seen together.  

After tricks or treats.  Friends or family?  Who can tell???  I love that.  

Siblings?  Friends?  When you are playing Cars Trouble, it doesn't matter.  And in the spirit of Hospitality, please notice I didn't clean up for you.  Because I love you too much to stress myself out like that.  :)  

It's tiny, but it's a fun response to me putting myself out there with a new friend, who seems to like to create things too.  I was so nervous to suggest a writing group.  I'm trying to put that out there a little bit more, to get offline and connect with more people in my area who enjoy writing.  (That's a little terrifying for me.)  If you can't read it, it was confirming and funny.  :)

What are you celebrating this week?  Joy!