Sunday, April 24, 2011

sun + ocean + MEXICO =

The greatest spring break I could have asked for!

I don't even know where to begin.

On Saturday, April 16th, Cami and I drove down to San Diego for the start of one sweet spring break.  It snowed the whole drive, almost all the way to Nevada!  It was bad and I was so grateful to have a Utah native driving my car.  We stopped in Cedar, or maybe it was Beaver, for breakfast.  We got out and my car was just covered in an inch of ice!  The poor thing.

We ended up in San Marcos around 4:30 where  the sun was shining and everything was green.  It looked beautiful.  We met up with Joe for dinner and then picked Carly up and got dessert at Elephant Bar (Cami and I hadn't eaten sugar for a whole month in prep for the cruise so that was a special treat!).  I really love my friends at home.  It was so good to see them.


Sunday morning we woke up and drove to Long Beach where we waited in lines for a few hours in a huge white dome building right next to the Queen Mary.  Phones weren't allowed.  People were super fidgety.  Patience was running thin and if everyone was as anxious as I was to get on that ship, I don't blame them!  We eventually made it to our room, 6-222.  I highly recommend balcony rooms.  It was so nice to be able to go outside whenever we wanted and it gave us lots of nice sunlight.  We quickly unpacked and explored the ship.  It was huge!  I also found that while standing on my balcony, it was no big deal to look down at the water, but when we were looking down from our floor to the lobby, I couldn't do it without getting all butterly-ey and queasy.  Water makes everything better for me I guess.

That night we went to dinner and met the lovely ladies of table 547.  Mother-daughter duo Stephanie and Lauren sat to our left.  To our right we had T and Veyla.  All of them were from the Sacramento area and so much fun!  We never had a dull moment at dinner.  Always good conversation and lots of laughing.  We also had the greatest waiter ever, although it took him a day or two to warm up to us.  The food was good, although I can't really think of any one dinner that particularly was amazing.  I did eat a lot (I LOVED the soft serve ice cream/ frozen yogurt - especially when they had strawberry!!!) but this is the conclusion I have come to: Everyone feels like they look better, healthier, happier, etc...when they are tan so my tan balanced out my weight gain.  Perfect.

We met up with T and Veyla at the Red Carpet (the club of the ship) after dinner and the four of us were the first ones to the dance floor.  A trio of boys came out to dance with us and we got the party going for day one on the ship.  We danced for a few hours and it was ridiculously fun and I am sure everyone thought we were crazy or drunk - surprisingly, we were neither, just being our fun selves!  We stayed up way past our bedtime, but we slept well that night.  Neither of us got seasick. And again, we woke up way too early for a spring break.

***I will post a day at a time.  There is just too much to make it all happen at once.  It also might be spread about with random thoughts I am having, because I am having a lot of those lately.***

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sound of San Marcos

On Saturday, Cami and I drove to San Diego before heading to Long Beach for the cruise.  We spent the night in San Marcos...waking up to those old familiar sounds was wonderful.  The following is a bit of what I wrote in my journal (and yes, a post all about the cruise and our adventures is in process, don't you worry) :

Cami and I leave on our cruise today.  I am so excited - it is something I really need.  Some time to clear my brain, relax, and then think some more.

We stayed in San Marcos last night.  We met up with Carly and Joe and had so much fun.  Mr. Taco for dinner and it was better than I remembered!  Then we went to Elephant Bar for dessert.  Cami and I were very exhausted...This put Cami in a hilarious mood!  Oh she was hilarious.  Carly is my San Marcos girl, my best friend, and a ray of sunshine in my life.  Then there's Joe and I will always love that boy.

This morning Cami and I woke up at 7:15.  What a way to start our first day of spring break, a time when we can actually sleep in!  We don't leave for Long Beach until 11:30 so we watched a movie (Center Stage!) ha.  After the movie we were going to take a nap, but I heard familiar San Marcos noises.  I am sitting in the DeBruyn's backyard, enjoying the chirping of spring birds.  There isn't just one chirp, but more like 7 - some singing, others squawking, all wonderful.  The cockadoodledoo from the neighbor's roosters.  An occasional bark in the distance.  A croak from a nearby frog.  The sound of a car as it rolls around the bend in Richland and down past the DeBruyn's.  A plane humming as it flies by.  Neighbor kids playing next door.  Then the sun just adds so much happiness to all of these noises.

Oh San Marcos, how I have missed you!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

my first cruise!

Spring break was something that as a BYU student, I didn't get to enjoy.

But now that I teach - spring break is back!

For those of you who didn't know this, Cami and I are going on a cruise for this year's spring break!  Mexican Riviera, here we come!

We get to visit beautiful Puerto Vallarta for a day - I spent a whole week there on my study abroad.

Oh and I cannot wait to come back with an awesome tan! (Notice tan line below.  Sweet, right?!)

Well, I better get some sleep before it's time to leave.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Buffalos and Parents

**** First I want to talk about buffalos.  Last year I had the cutest cutest kids (Yes, my students this year are great, but they are older, not quite as cute, but a lot more fun.  It's just a trade off, not saying one is better than the other).  My old class was also a lot lower functioning than my class right now.  We would go through the alphabet everyday and try to get my kids to come up with words that started with certain letter sounds.  One day, it finally, sort of, got through to one.

Me: "A. 'a'a'a'a' - Apple. What else starts with A?"

no response

Me: "Alligator. Ant.  How about B? 'b'b'b'b' - Blue.  What else starts with B?"

Cute kid: "Buffalllooo"

YES! I had done it.  He heard the letter sound.  The best part was how he said buffalo though.  The accent was on the 'U' and he would hold it out a little and then say the 'ffalo' part really fast.  It melted my heart and I can still hear him say it.  The reason I mention this is because one of my students now said buffalo yesterday and I had a sweet little flashback.  I love those.

**** Now, I am going to talk about the wonderful and amazing parents that I get to work with.  Teaching special ed is not easy and I can only imagine how hard it is to raise a child with a disability.  Everyone dreams of their children and we always picture them being perfect, but sometimes those dreams are shattered and it takes time before you realize that this is what you wanted and needed all along.

I always talk about how wonderful my students are, but I want to recognize the parents of my students because they are inspirational.

I went to an awards ceremony on Wednesday put on by Utah CEC (Counsil for Exceptional Children).  CEC is a professional organization/association that we were encouraged to join as students studying in Special Education and something that many of us still participate in.  They recognized outstading students, teachers, professors, businesses, and parents in the Special Ed community of Utah.  One of my professors at BYU received an award as well as the first teacher I worked under as an aide.  I have been blessed to be surrounded by such amazing educators.

But the awards that stood out the most to me were those given to the parents.  These parents that they recognized were outstanding and got me thinking a lot about my student's parents.  All of my students are loved at school AND at home.  I have parents calling me to tell me funny things that happen at home or inviting me to events.

The other day, I had a parent who felt bad for something that had happened that morning and was asking me how her boy was doing.  Then she thanked me for everything she did and told me to tell him how much she loved him.  My heart swelled as I caught a glimpse of her love for this sweet boy.

I know how hard it must be to raise and care for a child with a severe disability and for a long time, I never thought I could do it, that being their teacher was enough.  But my heart has been changed as I have seen my students touch hearts.  I have worked with their parents and siblings and seen how wonderful and big their hearts were becaue they were in a family with a sweet spirit who has taught them unconditional Christlike love, patience, and helped them see the big picture.

So you parents who have this wonderful children, I look up to you.  I am constantly inspired by the things you do and they love you give your children.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Don't sweat the small stuff...

...and it's all small stuff

I haven't read this book, but I think that it would definitely be a good for me.  Last night I was talking to a very close friend of mine, searching for some advice.  As we got into it, he said, "Tati, want to know my life motto?  I have always seen this book on my dad's bookshelf.  I have never read it and I don't know who wrote it but it is called, 'Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff.'"

I am the ultimate stress ball and I wish that I was kidding.  I worry a lot, but I like to think I have gotten better - actually, I KNOW that I have gotten better.

During my freshman year at BYU, I would call my mom, stressing about things weeks away or tests that I had already took.  Mom would walk me through things, tell me I had to make a To Do list just for the day and never look ahead in my planner.  She helped me accept scores that I could do nothing about and be determined to do better the next time.

I have since stopped worrying about things that I don't have control over.  I prep for big meetings and deadlines one day at a time by putting it bit by bit on my To Do list (but for some reason I always feel like I am rushing to get it done in the end). My calendars are my best friends and I have four in my classroom alone.
  • Calendar #1 is full of the things my students should know (breaks, weekly themes, assemblies, field trips, etc...)
  • Calendar #2 is for me and my aides to write what we have going on (meetings, who will be out of town, etc...) and it has all of the same stuff from the student's calendar as well.
  • Calendar #3 is a planner for me - for my eyes only full of fun things like new teacher training, IEP meetings, and dance parties!  It comes and goes wherever I do.
  • and Calendar #4 is my most recent purchase and has been velcroed to my desk.  It is marked with everything possible (vacations, friend's weddings, gatherings with friends, themes at school, assemblies, meetings, etc....).
I loveeee calendars.  I love To Do lists.  I love post its (they surround my computer, around my desk, on my calendars).  I love scheduling.  I love to send out emails to my IEP team over and over again about dates.  I love having events to look forward to.

I guess you can say that time is what I stress/sweat most about.  I hate being late (I have always said I would rather be half an hour early than 5 minutes late).  I hate bailing out on things I said I would go to.  I hate being blindsided by an event/meeting I forgot about until the night before.  Weird that time is such an issue from me since I have Latin blood (they are notorious for just coming and going.  People come first.  If they are on their way to a meeting and run into family or friends, the meeting has to wait.  I wish I was more like that...) AND I am LDS (joke is that we have to say meetings and events start an hour before they really do so that everyone shows up at the time that the event actually starts).

Anyway,  this post didn't go where I thought it would go as I started it.  But, thank you Kendrick for giving me a new motto so that I can really enjoy what I have because I have so much to be grateful for without worrying about the little things.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My ninners.

I cannot even believe it.  My sweet Sydney Noemi is 17.  My little sister is not so little anymore.  It makes me want to cry - not a sad cry, but just crying because the sister that I remember holding when I was 6, the sister that I remember helping mom with, the sister who always was dancing, the sister who was hypnotizing boys with her blue eyes since she was a toddler, the sister who we called squeaky, the sister who I just love sooo much, is now all grown up.

I do love you so much.  I love how strong you are and the confidence you carry yourself with.  You are far more daring than Kelsey and I ever have been.  You are not only successfull at everything you try, but you are amazing at everything you want to be!  Your heart is huge and I love seeing you come and work with my students and then hear about all the wonderful things you are doing with the special ed class at your high school.  I am so proud of you!  I can still see you sitting on the stairs in our condo in Orange County.  You just had a diaper on and that silly pacifier in your mouth.  Your laugh is contagious.  You absolutely shine and people are instantly drawn to you.  I love dance parties with you.  I love finding random pictures of you and Jordan on my phone.  I love discovering videos of you and Kelsey with facial masks and weird languages.  I love that you live close.  I love spending time with you...

I love you baby sister.  I am so proud of the things you do.  I really would love to teach with you someday.  You have an amazing heart and you will be great at whatever you decide you want to do.  I LOVE YOU.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

teaching love

Lately work has been really REALLY busy and it is only going to get BUSIER until school gets out.  Fun.  I love being stressed out and I am sooo good at it!

But, can I just, again, tell you how much I love my job.  These kids really "complete" me - I think that more than anything they fulfill my life, they give me purpose and they fill me with complete and absolute love.  How many people can say that about their job?

Sure, I have to put a whole lot into work - I have 11 students, their parents, with sooo much paper work for each kid and that makes me really miss some good quality time with them.  Behavior issues (attitude, problems with compliance, emotional to the max! etc...) and the occassional messy pants or "sour stomach".  I have escape artists.  Goof balls.  Tired kids who would rather just sleep in class.  Screaming.  Stomping.  I get a whole range of super amazing to really hard in any given day.

I think the hard things in my line of work make it all the more wonderful.  I always get to see so much good in everyday and no matter how stinky my classroom is or how loud we are, there is a special feeling of love and joy in my class.

I love love love teaching special education.