Upstairs Neighbors…

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I live in a downstairs condo… which I really love.

Being on the first floor allows me easy access in and out… I am able to lug in an entire load of groceries in just one go, because seriously, who has time to make two trips? Being on the first floor allows me to do this…

I can sneak in and out through my patio doors- taking out the trash, running to my car in my pajamas trying to avoid being seen by neighbors, sitting on my patio sipping wine hidden behind lush, green bushes- blocking me from view (when the warm weather decides to grace us with her presence, of course)…

I really love living on the first floor…

Except…

My upstairs neighbors.

Sigh.

I am on my second round of neighbors since moving in and they have been less than desirable. Today, as I write this, I am currently listening to my upstairs neighbors slamming what I assume to be a heavy weighted ball against the floor (ya know…my ceiling). Over. And over. And over again. This has been going on for a good 45 minutes. My patience…its waning and is becoming very, very thin…

All I wanted to do tonight was unwind…grade a few papers, enjoy a glass of wine, and watch Once Upon a Time… revel in the peace and quiet of my home…relax and prepare for the final two days of the week.

But all I can hear is thud, thud, thud…. Which is a nice change of pace from the usual bass vibrating through my ceiling, shaking my light fixtures, causing my electricity to flicker on and off, on and off…

But tonight…thud, thud, thud…

My neighbor is lucky I’m already in my pajamas… that this glass of wine is much too delicious to leave unfinished… and my legs too sore from kickboxing to make that long trek upstairs…

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Birthday Surprise…

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I knew my then 7th graders (8th graders now) were up to something…

A secret notebook rotating throughout the classroom (“Its not a love note, we promise, Ms. Geijer!”)…

Sly glances at one another across the classrooms- smirks and head tilts with an occasional nod…

Shared whispers in the hallway, the lunchroom, my classroom that would instantly stop upon entering within hearing distance…Whispers of “Shhhhhh she’s coming” could be heard milling about for quite a few weeks…

My teacher radar was up….

One day, I was sternly instructed not too come in too early the next day… “We have something we are doing for you… if you get here early you’ll ruin the surprise.”

So I obliged… and strolled through the school doors a little later than normal. Upon observing my classroom shades pulled down and my room blacked out, I was instantly on guard.

I slowly unlocked my door and swung it open and….

BAM!

Hit in the face with a confetti gun… Balloons encompassed the classroom floor. Banners posted wishing me a most happy birthday. Pictures of our class together. Selfies taken on field trips and at school functions plastered across the board and wall. Flowers and cupcakes sitting on my desk. Streamers from floor to ceiling…

An agenda was posted on the board…the students had planned out the day in honor of my birthday…

Showered with handmade cards, letters, and notes, my students took a day that I was not looking forward to (I hate birthdays…I refuse to age!!!!) and made it so very, very special…

A birthday surprise that I will absolutely never forget… from students who have wormed their way into my hearts and taken homage for good.

I am on very lucky teacher… ❤

 

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Some Things Just Don’t Go As Planned…

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I’m a planner…have been for as long as I can remember…

Lists of goals and life plans…

Some accomplished, some not…

My biggest goal- I’m not even close to reaching… Just a spec on the very distant horizon… trying so hard to grasp it, but always failing to fall within reach…

I try to tell myself that its okay…I’ll be fine if it never happens.

But I’m just lying to myself…

And it bugs me everyday.

 

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What To Slice About…

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I could write about how rough mornings have been lately…besides teaching I work part time at a local hardware store…and how tomorrow I have to be AT work at 6 am. Yup…awful. My alarm clock will shrilly go off about 4:30 am… I”m praying I do not hit snooze one too many times…

I could slice about how shocked I am that slicing has come so naturally to me so far…that I’ve had an idea for each day…in years past, about this time, I’ve skipped a few days.

I would write about how my nieces are currently in Disney World… I’ve been stalking their trip via Snapchats sent from my sister and brother-in-law. Oh my, their smiles and giggles of pure glee… priceless!

I could slice about my current lack of personal space. My cat has stalked me all night… walking in between my legs tripping me (intentionally I’m sure)… eating dinner she thought it was appropriate to jump up on the table and try to lay next to my plate (umm…absolutely not!)…and now she is curled up, nestled in my side. My arm held at an upright, crooked angle as I type this to avoid jostling her sweet self- purring and kneading her paws against my leg.

I could write about how I showed up to kickboxing class…and was the first one there. Normally, by the time I show up (just before class starts of course- I tend to forever be running late), the class is half packed and I’m throwing elbows (politely of course) to make my way through the locker room to secure my belongings and grab my favorite bag. Our class total today- four members. Apparently, everyone else decided to take the night off to go celebrate St. Patty’s day.

I could slice about all that and more. But I have to be up at 4:30 am….So now, I’m off to bed!Write. Share. Give.

 

 

 

An Arranged Marriage…

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As a junior high teacher, I have the great privilege of having  a large majority of the same kids both in 7th and 8th grade…which I love! I love that I already know so much about who they are as people, their strengths and struggles, the bonds that we have built.

My students seem to love this as well.

Some, even so much that they want me to become part of their family…literally.

One of my students, Alexis, is obsessed with the idea of me becoming her aunt, or as as she calls me, Tia (aunt is Spanish).

She has it all planned out. A “random” meeting here at school- she’ll just happen to bring him along on a field trip as a chaperone or need him to accompany her up to school one day…

Next, is a first date. Possibly a blind date if her stealthy plans for us to meet haven’t quite worked out. Chipotle of course.

From there, we will date for one year before the unexpected happens…a proposal (where of course I’d say yes!)…

Followed by a wedding…Which I’ve recently learned she’s already hard at work planning… Apparently colors have been chosen, flowers, and a date. Now, I’m not quite sure about of the details, but Alexis promises to let me know as it approaches (hints of a spring or early summer wedding were made)…

And then, a few years later, a few children we would have- little nieces and nephews for my new “big” niece, Alexis, to babysit.

She has it all planned out…

She has shared this idea with anyone, and everyone, who would listen…our classroom, her mom and dad (who support her in this crazy quest), fellow teachers, and even her uncle.

She is quite motivated to make this happen…

She has it all planned out… literally!

alexis comic

Oh, Mom…

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I think my mom may be having a slight mid-life crisis…

She has set up Facebook. “Samantha, did you see I have TWELVE friends now?!? How many friends do YOU have?!”

Oh, Mom…

She downloaded Instagram. “Samantha, how do you set up this Insta App Thingy…And what am I supposed to do?!”

Oh, Mom…

She purchased a motorcycle. A silver Harley that she rides complete with Harley Davidson leather pants and jacket… ” Samantha, do you see how COOL I look on my new bike?”

Oh, Mom…

She has downloaded Snapchat… Now, mind you, she doesn’t quite know how to use it, but hey, she HAS it (she wants everyone to know)… “Samantha, can you send me that link on Snapchat instead of through text?”   Ummm…no?

Oh, Mom…

But her biggest struggle lately, now that she has a new phone, is emoticons. Those tricky little faces are causing some serious strife as she strongly believes that the laughing-so-hard-you’re-crying- emoticon is actually the sobbing-because-I’m-so-sad emoticon. “Samantha, I just don’t understand why your sister is so mad at me. She accused me of LAUGHING at her…I would never do that!” After careful explanation, and modeling of the two DIFFERENT emoticons, she still couldn’t tell the difference…

Oh, Mom…

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A Little Unexpected…

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An unexpected text message this morning…no school today.

A random Tuesday off?

One not related to snow…

But one that left me stressing…

Wanting…needing to know…

Was everyone safe? Was everyone ok?

The unexpected was not welcome…

So I tried to distract myself…

I was unable to go back to bed…the unexpected left me wide awake…

There was laundry to tend to (fresh sheets tonight…the very best!)…

An endless stack of papers to grade…

The TV on as I watched fat, fluffy snowflakes fall from the sky…

My house is now clean…dishes washed, floors vacuumed and washed, some light dusting is done…

But yet, I still could not help thinking…

Of the unexpected…

 

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Nothing Better Than Book Love…

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I am a reader…I just love to devour books. One right after the other. Sequels and series… Books that are made into movies…books recommended by friends.

I love to chat about books- how other people felt about the characters, the setting, the twist they just didn’t see coming. I love to tell my students about the great book that I just can’t put down…

I love to fall in love with the characters- embrace their fights and frustrations, their hopes and successes.

I just can’t get enough!

Which is probably a great problem to have as a literacy teacher.

I enjoy sharing my passion with students- helping them pick books that I know they’ll adore. Seeing their eyes light up with excitement, hear their voices begging for “just five minutes more!” Finding a series that they stick to… huddling in a corner with me to discuss their heartbreak when its “all over.”

Most of my classes buy in to my strange obsession by way of read alouds. With the exception of one of my classes…my 7th graders. They are “too cool” for reading.

We have tried book after book this year…Projekt 1065, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Harry Potter (I have never been more disappointed that I couldn’t get this class to love Harry the way I do)! But, they just wouldn’t buy in. These books that have spoken so loudly to me, did not interest them in the slightest.

Until we came across this book…the one that changed it ALL for us. Code of Honor written by Alan Gratz. The beginning was rocky- they weren’t buying into the main character, Kamran, who’s older brother Darius is accused of being a Terrorist. A Persian family living in Arizona, Kamran was quickly thrown into turmoil as he fought to protect his name: at school, with the Department of Homeland Security, and later to a team of individuals who help him track down his brother.

Now?

My. Kids. Are. Hooked. HOOKED! Today, they literally begged and pleaded to keep reading. For us to devote our whole block to finishing the book. They were drying to know…

  • Was Darius really a terrorist?
  • Who, among their group, was a traitor? (You’ll have to read to find out…)
  • Does Kamran ever get of the DHS?
  • He Escaped? Will he be charged with a crime even though he shouldn’t have been kept there to begin with?
  • Is his brother in Iraq? Arizona?
  • Does Kamran REALLY believe his brother is still innocent?
  • Will they really let Kamran go with on their mission?

Of course I didn’t let them finish…I have to draw it out. Keep them hanging on, coming back each day…asking more questions, delving deeper into the characters, analyzing the events and synthesizing their thinking… I even heard them talking about the book later on in the day…in the hallway while walking with a friend…without even being told to!!!!!!

For the first time this year, my 7th graders are in love with reading. Just like me…

And boy, oh boy, does this make for one VERY happy literacy teacher!

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My Heart is Full…

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My heart is full… when I hear the pitter-pattering of feet running across the slick hard wood my girlsfloors hurrying to greet me at the door…when the sweet sound of toddler babble comes to a halt and I hear, “Auntie Sammy is here!!!!” as they greet me at the door. When I hear their giggles radiating through the room at whatever “silly” thing I’ve done, their sister babble back and forth…

Sigh.

My heart is full… when I see my bright eyed nieces, three of them, to be exact. Their beautiful, hazel eyes bright with excitement. Giant smiles pervading their faces as their little hands wrap around my fingers…

Sigh.

My heart is full… when I cuddle my 11 month old niece, Sloane, and inhale her sweet, baby smell. A mix of baby wash, formula, and detergent. When I snuggle with Emersyn as she crawls on my lap wanting to cuddle, her head leaning back against my shoulder. When tucking Eisley into bed and smell the calming oils diffused into her room…

Sigh.

My heart is full… when playing with my nieces- feeling them crawling on top of me as they try to tackle me and take me down… as we chase one another through the house playing tickle monster and I feel their little hands trying to tickle my belly. When we snuggle up at night to read bedtime stories and their little arms link around my neck begging for another hug, or a “squeeze” as Emersyn calls them now…

Sigh.

My heart is full… when I hear them say, “I love you, Auntie Sammy.”

Sigh.

I never knew how full my heart could be….

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That “Oily” Life…

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I’ve been hearing about them for the last few years…

My colleagues swear by them…

I’ve heard they ease pain, help improve sleep, calm students, relieve stress, help with sinuses…

After battling nonstop headaches and a stuffy nose with no end in sight…

After shhhhhing students and reminding myself to breath as I internally count to five…

After realizing I need something to help with my stress level…

I gave in…

I decided to give them a try…

I ordered a small diffuser (I’m currently just “trying” them out) before I spend the big bucks on the starter kit…

I hit up my friend Megan for samples (she is WELL stocked at school)…

And here I am…

Diffusing my new essential oils…

Bergamot to be exact…

Contemplating my combination for bedtime (I’ve heard Lavender and Stress Away is great!)…

Excited to see if these oils help (because, to be honest, I have my doubts)…

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