June 26, 2015

You Probably Don't Remember Me, Do You?

I'm here! I'm alive! Do you even remember my name or my blog? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

I have been majorly MIA this past school year, and I apologize. I can't blame my laziness on an unusually busy or stressful year. In fact, this past year was one of the best that I can remember: I had amazing students, supportive parents, and encouraging administrators. I can't even attribute my lack of blogging motivation to a busy extracurricular schedule (although, I did make time for running regularly...more on that later!). Nope. I was just a slacker. Plain and simple. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to catch you up on what I've been up to these past few months, and hopefully, you'll continue to tune in regularly throughout the summer for frequent updates and maybe a linky or two!

So, I pride myself on having a pretty killer immune system after thirteen years of working with young children. But I ended up getting slammed with "The Crud" right before Christmas. I haven't been that down and out in years! Thankfully, this little guy was more than willing to nurse me back to health with lots of snuggles and popsicles:

 That face would make anyone feel better.

We made our annual trek to northwestern Pennsylvania to visit KShaf's family for Christmas. One of the highlights of the trip for the kids is staying in a hotel for the night along the way. It always seems like a swell idea...at the time.

For whatever reason, however, on this particular trip, the kids decided that 1:00 in the morning seemed like an excellent time to get up for the day. Uh, no, thank you. That was our final stay in a hotel, and from now on, we'll be making the trip all in one day.

After meeting her cousin's pet guinea pig a few months ago, all Princess A wanted for Christmas was a guinea pig. So, Santa brought her a cage, bedding, toys, and food (you haven't experienced fun until you've gift wrapped a guinea pig cage, by the way), with the promise that once we returned from Pennsylvania, Princess A could go to PetSmart and pick out her piggie. KShaf (not Princess A, mind you) couldn't choose between the two piggies left in the cage, so we ended up with two: Anna and Lilly.

The face of contentment.

Shortly after returning to school after the holiday break, I had the pleasure (no, that's not sarcasm) of taking my class on a field trip to the Museum of American History. This trip correlates perfectly with our Social Studies unit on American Heroes and Symbols, and it is a huge hit with the students (especially since many of them don't get the opportunity to visit "The Western Shore"). 

It was an added bonus that I got to be both Mom and Mrs. Shafer on the trip! Princess A and I broke all of the rules and visited the Museum Cafe, where I treated her to a Rice Krispies treat the size of her head.

Does your school use Accelerated Reader as an incentive program? I'm really curious about this topic, and I think I'm going to dedicate a future blog post to it. Ours wasn't up and running until mid-February for our firsties (not sure why there was such a delay, but again, that's a discussion for another time), but once our students had access to the program, they went bananas over it!

My own little firstie couldn't get enough! She was tearing through books like nobody's business! It made my teacher heart so doggone happy.

And then, there was the 100th Day of School. I'll admit, I love this day (and not just because it means that there are only 80 days left in the school year!). This year, we invited the students to dress up to look like they were 100 years old, and it was a huge hit!

Have you ever seen a cuter bunch of old people? 

Not long after the 100th Day of School, I was called in to see my administrator. I realize that I am a 37 year-old adult, but it still scares the living poo out of me when my principal asks to see me! Thankfully, I wasn't in trouble (this time!). Instead, my principal asked me to represent my school as the Teacher of the Year and to compete against other teachers in our district for County Teacher of the Year. Once I picked my jaw up off the ground, I readily agreed: what an honor and a privilege! I had to complete a lengthy application and interview process, but in all honesty, it was one of the best professional opportunities that I've ever had, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

That's me, third from the right. I didn't win County Teacher of the Year (for which I'm grateful...I could never get up and speak in front of our entire county during the first week back to work in August!), but I had a wonderful time, nonetheless.

Remember when I mentioned earlier that I got back into running regularly? Well, once Daylight Savings Time went into effect, I committed to running at least twice a week, once the kiddos were in bed. We all need something that is just for us, and that's what running is for me. Of course, it's always to nice to have a comrade in crime who will run with you, and I was able to talk SpurDog into running in her hometown's running festival with me for the second year in a row. She won't admit it, but we had a blast!

 While on a runner's high, I (foolishly?) agreed to run the Baltimore Half Marathon (my first!) in October. So, I've been working hard to get myself ready!

We had A LOT of winter days (thirteen, I think) that looked like this...

So, as a result, the students ended up going to school until June 11th. It didn't seem all that awful while I was enjoying days home with my kiddos in mid-January, but by the time the warm weather and sunshine arrive in June, it was downright painful to be stuck inside! Thankfully, my little ones did an excellent job of staying engaged and focused, and we enjoyed a fantastic end to the school year.

My babies on the last day of school. I'm not sure when Princess A turned into a teenager, or when Deedle grew three inches!

My guy receiving the Responsibility Award. 

Princess A got the same award! How did I manage to have two such responsible kids?!?
(P.S. It was Pajama Day at school on the same day as the End-of-Year Awards Assembly. Just for the record.)

Once the kiddos finished up for the year, the teachers had to work for an additional week. We made the best of it, and SpurDog and I made sure to have as much fun as we possibly could.

Yep, that's us, enjoying a 7-Eleven run for a Slurpee and Big Bite during our lunch break.

Whew! So, that's the second half of my school year in a nutshell! All in all, it was an amazing year...professionally and personally! Now, I'm ready to relax, rest, read, and recharge so I can do it all again.

Come back and see me...I promise to be better about blogging!