Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teacher, Teacher

It's crazy how in just 5 weeks a heart can create twenty four different soft spots for amazing individuals. Today was a day of goodbye's to twenty four of the most delightful children I have ever met. Let me explain....

This semester I began Level 2 of the Elementary Education program. Part of this level is participating in ten weeks of practicum experience. In English terms, that means I get to spend ten weeks in an elementary school classroom observing, assisting, and briefly teaching. This is broken up into two different blocks, each being about 5 weeks. Today was the last day of my first block.

The past month I have been spending time in Mrs. Pettit's 4th grade class at Greenville Elementary. I was able to meet these kids, help them with their school work, go on a few field trips, make some sweet rock crystals with them, correct never-ending amounts of worksheets, read out loud, tell stories, teach fractions, and be a friend and teacher. I learned so much about teaching from them and from Mrs. Pettit.

There is no doubt in my mind that I'm going into the best field in the world.

Now, this post may sound like a depressing story of a break up or death. It's not. Really. After Spring Break, the fun starts all over and I get to spend five weeks in a first grade classroom at Hillcrest Elementary. But somehow, this chatty group of 10 year olds at Greenville have captured my heart and I will sincerely miss them. I think what put the icing on the cake was the events of today:

Kids arrive to school.
I check each student's success book and reward teams with fuzzies for doing homework.
The kids break up into reading groups.
We all form a line at the door for a field trip.
The class walks to the Eccles Ice Center for an ice-skating extravaganza.
I help 4th graders lace up their skates.
The class hits the ice: some are naturals, some are not so much.

I ice-skate with the students. Who would have thought hanging out with 10 year olds could be so fun?

We walk back to the school.
The class goes to lunch and I spend my last lunch in the Teacher Work Room. Good times.
Recess is over and the class reads. I pass out my ice cream treats.
The kids learn about decimal numbers in math.
I take the kids out for recess and agree to play "Monkey in the Middle" with a group of girls. It was really fun.
The kids write and hand me the sweetest thank you notes in the world.
The class reviews their rock unit....big test tomorrow!
They write down homework in their success book, pack up, and walk out of the classroom.

Will I ever see these kids again? I don't know. I really hope so. I tell myself that I will never ever forget them, but there is a good chance that some will become a fuzzy memory 25 years from now when I've become a veteran teacher. What a delightful experience though. Children are truly amazing. And yes, they can be obnoxious, difficult, have behavioral problems, etc. But they are genuine, sweet, loving and very quick to accept. Here's a taste of the darling notes I received from my new best friends:

My note and picture from Jayden...treat and all :)

Makes my heart melt.

They are all such artists.

This dear has a lot of personality. Can you tell?

I cannot wait to continue in my program. Some days I wonder if I'm cut out to do everything that it takes to be a teacher. It is busy! But hey, I'm used to a busy life at this point, so why not keep going? Haha no but really, there are challenges, just as there would be with any job. But the rewards in this one are amazing. It's life changing to know that as a teacher, you are changing lives and truly making a difference. It's one of those jobs that you can come home from each night, even if you are frustrated, saying "I made an impact on someone's life today. I really do have an important part in society." Now if only the salary could reflect that importance as well. :)

You Are My Special Teacher

You are my special teacher
I just want you to know
I always had fun in your class
How the time has flown!

Thank you for helping me
To learn all that I know
I will always remember you
Even when I'm grown!

I'll miss you being my teacher
I know the reason why
I am feeling very sad
Because it's time to say goodbye
- Author Unknown

Thank you Mrs. Lee, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Carlston, Mrs. Copenhaver, Mrs. Rajagopal, Mr. Earl and Mrs. Wallentine for being the best teachers I could have ever hoped for and ultimately inspiring me to be doing what I'm doing today. I wouldn't be here without you all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonderful Work

This past Monday was a holiday...President's Day. Now, this holiday isn't anything amazing, like Christmas or Halloween, but it at least provided me a day off. I work at the University, which is the bomb.com. I love school holidays because not only are there no classes but no work either! Boom. So what did I decide to do on my day off? House work. Yeah yeah, boring I know. But as boring as that day may have sounded, it was fantastic. I find a good sense of accomplishment in doing good old-fashioned chores like laundry and changing sheets. So while I was in the Martha Stewart mode, I decided to go all out. What the heck, I might as well. I tried something brand new. Something that I had never dared try before. Something that I couldn't predict the outcome of. What might this thing be? Baking.

Not just any baking though because you see, baking is not a foreign art in my life. I don't do it as much as I would like due to a busy busy schedule. But I am a pretty mean baker when I want to be. No, this baking was something different. It was baking rolls. Cinnamon rolls.

So, my mama has never been the roll queen in any way. Not dissing her or her amazing cooking skills, but rolls aren't really her strong suit. It think that she has a little bit of a mental block thinking that she can't make them though. Really, they aren't bad. But because of that, homemade rolls are a rare thing in my household. So I decided to give it a wild stab.

I got a really yummy recipe for cinnamon rolls that past week at my IWA activity. My advisor's daughter showed us how to make them and it seemed simple. So after a quick run to Lee's for the proper ingredients, I set off rolling on my journey.

About 4 hours later, my cinnamon rolls were finally finished. I'm not going to lie, there was some frustration during the process including but not limited to: the butter not melting, the dough seeming too sticky, no parchment paper, the recipe telling me to cook it for longer than I should have, etc. However, despite all of my gripes and miniature road blocks, they turned out really good. I was honestly surprised. Even my overly-critical-of food-tell-it-like-it-is brothers gave me praises. And that was all I needed to hear.

The giant cinnamon roll. A necessary part of the roll making process.

Some of the little guys waiting to enter the oven.

The final product. Bon appetite!

There is a real sense of happiness when you work hard. It is not one that can be bought or bribed by anyone. It's that personal feeling of accomplishment and achievement that we can only rightfully earn by simply working. One of my favorite quotes on work is from a General Conference address by Elder D. Todd Christofferson:

"By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires."

Baking cinnamon rolls is such a simple and luxurious form of work in some senses. Real grueling work is hauling hay in the middle of the summer, trying to solve a complex calculus problem, getting up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby when you're running on minimal hours of sleep, putting the finishing touches on a life-size painting, sewing the last stitch after hours of a critical surgery, struggling to defend an innocent man accused of embezzling within a company, mixing concrete for a home's foundation in the freezing cold temperatures of the winter, or playing man to man defense against Kobe Bryant. How can any satisfaction come from something so plain as doing a little baking? I can't explain how, but it surely does. All you chefs out there can completely understand.

I am grateful for the aspect of work. I am lucky to have two formal jobs that provide me with an income and more importantly, with pleasure. I am glad that I have parents who are the prime example of work. I can't think of many people who work harder than my pops. Seriously, this guy works his tail off and never ever complains. What an amazing example. But the ultimate example is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was always working: in creating this world, in preaching to lost souls during His ministry, and in suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, just to name a few instances. I am thankful to Him for providing us opportunities to work and to feel a sense of accomplishment.

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
-Donald Kendall

I love work. Simple as that.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to Blogging

After a long blog deprivation in my life, I am now back on the bandwagon of one of my favorite hobbies...blogging! I love being able to write my own personal online journal. Who knows if anyone but myself even reads it, but it is a way to say what's on my mind and in my heart. I love it. It is truly something that brings joy into my life.

This past month has been busy busy, hence the reason I have not had any time to update. So here's a quick catch up of the past months festivities: the good, the bad, the fun, the crazy, the sad, and everything in between.

Christmas

Christmas was beautiful this year. I had such an incredible experience performing in the Pickleville Christmas Show. Some of my dearest friends and best holiday memories were made through this. Thank you TJ, Drea and the whole Davis clan for giving me the chance to do what I love especially during the most wonderful time of the year.

The cast of the Pickleville show

My uncle Shawn, Aunt Teresa and cute cousin Gabriella came to visit for the holiday. We had such a wonderful time with all of my mom's family. Christmas is all about family, friends and loved ones. I realized that a lot this year. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend quality time playing games and laughing with those people that are closest to my heart. How truly blessed I am.

The family Christmas card photo

My best friends in the whole entire world

My cousin Gabriella. Is she not the cutest thing ever?

Christmas day with my grandparents

Mmmmm Christmas memories :)

Hawaii

This trip could be a blog post in and of itself. Seriously. It was AMAZING! No wait, amazing is an understatement. The most descriptive and flowery words in the world couldn't adequately explain my experience. So I will do my best. On December 30 (my mama's birthday), 9 of us took off on blistery and icy roads to Las Vegas. The next morning we flew out to the most beautiful paradise I have ever been to. Granted, I have not traveled too much in my life to tropical settings. Let's be honest, this was my first airline experience that I have been old enough to remember. Sad, I know.

We got to Oahu on New Years Eve and stayed in the Hilton Hawaiian Village right on Waikiki Beach. We watched fireworks and partied that night, which was a great introduction to a wonderful week. A few, but not all, of the things we did included: going to Pearl Harbor, boogie boarded and body surfed at the beach, went to the PCC, visited the temple, went snorkeling, attended a legit Hawaiian ward, went shopping at the largest mall I have ever been to, built a giant sandcastle woman, and did plenty of laying out. Those rays were oh-so-good to me that week. When the week was finally up, it was hard to say good-bye. Hawaii and I were instant bff's and I didn't want to come back to bleak Utah and face the reality of a new semester beginning.

Coming home wasn't all that bad though. I had missed family and friends and was happy to see them all again. My friend Corey picked me up from the airport and although it was a little dreary outside, it was wonderful reuniting with the special people in my life. What a trip though! Thank you to Tami, Blake and Ashley Kohler for providing a trip of a lifetime. I feel so lucky to have been able to go. And I WILL be going back to Hawaii someday. Maybe with my family this time. Maybe on a honeymoon one day. Who knows, but I do know that I will rekindle that friendship with the islands and hopefully it will be soon.

Hawaii pictures...be prepared for these.
For more pictures, click here. I might overload blogger if I share them all.

New Years Eve. Watching firework on the beach.

Our condo.

The ladies after church on Sunday.

Snorkeling

The whole group. What a fun bunch!

Does this look fake? Yes. But it is real as can be! Hunauma Bay.

The Polynesian Cultural Center

Possibly my favorite part of the vacation. The Temple.

Our giant 20-foot sandcastle woman. We were the biggest tourist attraction. No joke.

Our last day in Hawaii.

I'm a sucker for a beautiful sunset.

Odds and Ends

School
Here I am almost two months after my trip. School is in full swing and Spring Break is in sight. Where does the time go? Seriously. I am currently in "Level 2" of the Elementary Education program which includes spending 3 out of 5 days a week at Greenville Elementary School with the best 4th grade class in the world. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the field I should be going into. Each day brings new events...some good and some bad. But the children are darling and my heart is going to be a little broken next week when I have to switch classes. I have really grown to love them.

Provo
A few weeks ago, I went down to Provo to visit my dear friend Whitney Davis. She is like the other half of my personality that makes me whole. I love spending time with her and it bites that we have to live 2 hours away. But because of that, we get to have fun visits. Thank you Whitney for being such a dear friend to me. You provide me with endless hours of laughter and you are always there to listen to my stories. What a perfect friend you make. :)

Going to church with Whit in Provo.

Color Me Mine. They are sure creative down in Utah County.

Good-byes
Speaking of friends, it is never a happy thing when a good friend leaves your life, be that for whatever reason. Sometimes it just happens though. That's recently happened in mine. But, it's not a bad thing, just...it can make the heart hurt a little to know that someone you care a lot about won't be there like they used to. Let me just say this though, the Lord is mindful of everyone. Sometimes letting go of feelings is part of his mindful plan. He wants us to be happy and sometimes it takes sadness to create happiness. Good friends never really leave our hearts or our thoughts. They will always be there to lend a helping hand in times of need. I wouldn't take back one day of my friendship, but I'm happy where I'm at now. I have SO much to be thankful for and I count my blessings everyday. I know that there is a plan for me and my life. Sometimes I just wish I was psychic and could foresee what that plan is. Oh well, I guess that's all part of this crazy thing we call life.

Brothers
I'd argue with anyone that I have some of the coolest brothers in the world. I have often times wished on every star that my mom would have a baby girl so that I could finally enjoy having a sister. But having all brothers isn't too bad. I get my own room and don't have to share clothes or make-up. My brothers live with a steady dose of sports which means that I do too. I really love sports now and could tell you a lot more about the NBA than I ever thought I would be able to. They really are great guys and I'm happy to be able to spend time with them. Here are a few pictures of them at their basketball games this past week. These boys live for playing ball and they are really good too...just saying.


Aaron shooting free-throws.

Watching Aaron's game.

Jared going for the ball.

Last night, Aaron and I had a little brother/sister bonding time. He has got to be one of the world's most biggest Brian Regan fans. Now, he doesn't love Brian like he loves Jimmer Fredette or anything BYU related for that matter, but he is still quite a fan. So in early December, I found out that Brian Regan was coming to do some shows here in Logan. I guess I was a little late hearing this because when I went online to get tickets every single show was completely sold out. Let's just say, Logan loves Brian! A few minutes later, I saw a link for tickets available for a new 10:30 pm show they had just added. There were awesome seats available still so click! I bought two tickets right away. I was originally going to go with a friend, but things didn't really work out for that to happen, so cute little Aaron begged me to go and I was thrilled to take him.

We had such a great time. I haven't laughed so hard for a long time. He had a brand new comedy show...we had never heard any of his jokes before. And gosh, his face and actions and voices are HILARIOUS! No wonder all of his shows are sold out. Then for the encore, he took requests of people's favorite acts. He did mine and Aaron's favorite: Stupid in School. Classic! Despite how late it was, and Aaron had a b-ball game early in the morning the next day, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thank you Brian Regan for being so dang funny and for coming to Logan. We loved you!

Waiting for the show to start.

The man himself. Brian Regan.

video
This is the infamous "Stupid in School." He finished the show last night with this act and oh my gosh, my tummy hurt from laughter.

Well, if anyone is still reading this post, I'd be quite surprised and impressed. It is long enough...sheesh! What a fun few months it has been though. A lot of emotions have been felt, many being new ones, and what a fun ride it's been. I am looking forward to faithfully blogging again too. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder... So dear neglected blog of mine, I am back. Don't you even worry. :)