Monthly Archives: March 2015

Score…Happy Sunday to Me!!!

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I dread getting my taxes done…absolutely dread it. I have this persistent fear that I am going to owe a ton of money…that I don’t have…to the government (mind you, I’ve never actually owed ANYTHING to the government). Not only that, but I despise the fact that it costs me $140 for 5 minutes of my accountant’s time…seriously? $140 for 5 minutes? Maybe I’m in the wrong profession…

So when I came across a coupon for $50 off from a local tax preparation place, I jumped on it. A coupon for my taxes definitely made me wary, but my taxes are pretty easy to do and impossible to mess up (unless I’m doing them), so I figured why not try them once and see… and I’m glad I did! The accountant preparing my taxes was happy to inform me of some type of teacher special. Now, me not knowing anything about anything related to taxes just assumed that he was talking about the $250 tax credit that teachers routinely got…until the end. As I handed him my coupon, he laughed and told me that my taxes were filed for free since I was a teacher! Apparently, for two weeks every March, they choose to honor teachers by filing their taxes for free…and I just happened to be there the day it ended. Score…Happy Sunday to me!!!

With my “tax filing” payment still sitting safely in my bank account, I happily headed to Target (my version of heaven) and headed to the sports area. And made a purchase that I had been battling back in forth in my mind trying to justify it’s purchase (especially since my phone does the same thing) and finally did it…I bought myself a Fitbit which means I can now join my coworkers in their weekly challenges. I wonder if I can write off this purchase next year as a work expense…

Wisdom of a 12 year old

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Our students have a lot to teach us daily…if we just take the time to listen. Really listen…

“Love yourself a little bit more today than you did yesterday,” is a quote one of my insightful, and strong, students chose to write about today.

She shared with the class that this quote really spoke to her…that she has a lot in her life that she could dwell on and let bring her down. She no longer lives with her parents, but rather her aunt and grandma – it wasn’t safe for her to stay with her mom. That she could let this define her (yes, her words…not mine), but that she doesn’t.
She chooses to wake up everyday and be greatful for the people she does have there for her, that are on her side. She chooses to focus on having a strong group of friends that she can turn to, an aunt that treats her like her own daughter, that she is loved.

She shared that this quote reminded her to each day focus on the good aspects…the good parts of her life. And that we should all, too.

So powerful from the mouth of a twelve year old…

Our students have so much to teach us if we just take the time to listen…really listen. I’m glad I did.

Sisters or Enemies?

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I’ve always been envious of my friends who had older sisters that were their “best” friends. They’d whisper and share secrets, cover for one another’s mistakes, share inside jokes, and spend time together…voluntarily. I have always wanted that type of relationship with my sister, fought for that type of relationship, but its just never seemed to work out that way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my older sister and am very proud of her accomplishments. She is a registered nurse, has a good head on her shoulders, is great to her friends, and has two amazing little girls. She is the best mom…her focus is on her children and raising them to be intelligent little girls- they are her pride and joy.

But as a sister…well, that relationship has always been a little bit strained. Our two very different personalities (her being overly critical and me maybe being just a bit too sensitive) just never seem to mesh just right…My sister has always treated her friends as if they were sisters- sharing secrets, inside jokes, and spending all of her spare time with them. As a kid, I got it. We were in different grades and had different interests…it was only normal for us to spend our time apart and with different people. I was hurt, but I understood.

But as we  progressed into adulthood, both gone our separate ways and living our lives, I had always held out hope that things would change- exciting events in our lives would bring us closer together- vacations, engagements, weddings, new babies, new houses- but as these events continue unfolding, our relationship keeps fading even further away.  Her new life, friends, and acquired family members became more important, pushing me further into the background.

Maybe, hopefully, things will change in time and one day we will have a relationship that others are envious of, too.

Hola, Riviera Maya! Part 1…

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I had never left the country before the summer of 2011. I’ve always had the urge to travel, but between working and college full time, I never really had the time, or money, to travel abroad. So when my older sister Kelli suggested a vacation to Mexico, I couldn’t refuse.

I had just finished my first year of teaching and summer school, and was eager to relax- laying on the beach, enjoying the sound of the lapping of the ocean waves as they broke on the shore,  sipping a frosty strawberry margarita sounded like the perfect way to celebrate and welcome summer. So we booked the trip and off we went…to Riviera Maya just outside of Cancun.

Flying in and getting to our hotel, The Blue Bay Resort, was an adventure all in itself. We landed, after a three hour delay due to missing flight attendants, and quickly filed off of the plane to await our luggage, which was a game of cat and mouse. Luggage racks were poorly labeled and it took some trial and error before we were able to locate the correct carousel. Luggage in hand, we headed to customs to have our passports stamped and luggage cleared through security. The one major difference being that there were police officers stationed everywhere….holding giant rifles against their shoulders and they stared passengers down as they passed through.

After being asked about our intentions for our trip (Why are you here? How long do you plan on staying? Are you here to buy drugs?) we moved on to pass through security. Now, normally, bags are not scanned upon arrival. However in Mexico, you lined up with your luggage and pushed a giant yellow button (think of the staples “Easy” button). If the button turned green, you were free to leave, if you pushed red, you were escorted to the side and searched. Thankfully, my sister and I turned green and were free and allowed to leave- escorted past groups of people busily emptying their belongings onto the floors and counters to be inspected.

After locating our shuttle bus and piling in, we settled in for the hour long trip to the resort. As people groaned and moaned, I was excited for the opportunity to view Mexico from the window as it sped by. The colors of Mexico are so vivid…crisp and bright. I couldn’t peel my eyes away…everything appeared so fresh and lush. The only interruption to the beautiful landscaping and views were the police huts that divided the roadway every few miles. Pulling up, police were stationed inside of the hut, outside, and lining the streets. Rifles in hand, these men were incredibly intimidating…I remember panicking the first time we pulled up to one…Why are they surrounding us? Why did they have their rifles out and poised as if ready to attack? Is this normal? Did something happen recently?

We, fortunately, were just waved on through each checkpoint while many others were stopped, searched, and questioned. People’s cars were moved off to the side of the road, while others were brought inside of the huts to be questioned.

Finally, we arrived at the resort…I couldn’t be more relieved, and excited, to head to the beach and relax with a margarita, or two, after a very interesting trip in. I couldn’t wait to start my vacation!

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Childhood Hangout

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Eight blocks.

Eight blocks are all that stood between me and my favorite childhood hangout. A hangout that opened my eyes to so many possibilities and gave me a brief reprieve from my daily life… A hangout that allowed me to stuff my backpack to the brim with adventures and characters that could transport me to millions of other places.

– I met Marie-Antoinette and her perpetual need to live a life of grandeur.

– I suffered with Anne Frank in her hideout during World War II…I cried when she cried.

– I traveled back in time and rode along with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family on their wagon seeking a new home…a fresh start.

– I flashed back to a time where royalty was common and kings and queens were overthrown just as quickly as they had gained their crowns.

– I visited new places…exploring rainforests, traveling through Europe, visiting secret gardens that almost seemed magical

– Made new friends in castles full of witches and wizards.

– I solved mysteries along side Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children- piecing clues together one by one.

– Had my heart broken by the loss of my favorite characters…

Eight blocks.

Eight blocks are all that stood between me and my favorite childhood hangout. The local library. My favorite place to “get away.”

Maybe Tomorrow…

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Welp…it’s finally hit me….Its been going around. Several people I know have encountered it, and have now passed it on to me…

The dreaded writer’s block.

I’ve been brainstorming all day…with my kids…with one of my friends while conquering the stairs at Swallows Cliff…my trainer at the gym. And nothing came to mind. Nada. Zilch.

I could write about some of the interesting things my students said today…like how one asked, “Ms. Geijer, do other countries refer to us as Europeans?” “Ummm…nope. Europeans are people who live in Europe. We live in America…hence Americans.” Her reply…”Oh. So what do they call people from the country of North America?” I instructed her to complete some research on the classroom iPad as I scratched my head and emailed her social studies teacher. Oh boy!

I could write about the crazies at the gym today. It never fails, when I work out with my trainer Barry, we seem to spend the entire time hunched over in laughter…The guy in the velour track suit with the mullet…the guy who walked past my trainer and smacked him on the butt (my trainer had no clue who the guy was), the teenager jamming out to his “air” guitar in between sets, the older woman wearing white see through shorts, inappropriate black crop top, and bright blue eye shadow with Farrah Fawcett hair…never a dull moment.

I’ll keep brainstorming…Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have something better to write about!

See ya later, 6th Grade!

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I remember the spring day that my principal paged down into my classroom. “What time are your students going to gym today?” she asked. “1:50,” I replied back. “Perfect,” she said. “Can you please come down to Mrs. Hamilton’s office after you drop off your students. We would like to talk to you.”

Instant fear crept through my body…My first year teaching self began to question…”Did I do something wrong?” “Am I going to find out today I’m not being asked back?” “Did I forget to do something?” I stressed, and stressed, and stressed. Finally, 1:50 rolled around. I dropped off my students at gym and headed to my assistant principal’s office trying to appear calmer than I felt.

As I sit down and faced my two administrators, the smiles on their faces instantly calmed me down. And then they hit me with it. News I never expected….I was going to be moving up to teach junior high.

Teach junior high…me? I student taught in third grade, completed a maternity leave in third grade, did great with sixth grade… What did I know about teaching junior high? I had seen those junior high students of course…the eyes rolling, the ever present sigh of not being understood by their teachers yet again, the fact that the majority of them towered above me…

As I battled back tears, yup…I was REALLY upset, I thanked them both for the opportunity…the new challenge. And challenge it was.

My first year in junior high was a huge adjustment. Rather than learning the names of just 26 students, I had 110. There were new curriculums to learn, rules and procedures to memorize, a brand new schedule (five classes vs. just one),  a new team to get to know…Leaving behind my 6th grade team was hard…I had depended on them so much…and they’d become such wonderful friends.

It was very different. It was difficult. I doubted myself…the kids tested me…and I’m pretty sure I was in my assistant principal’s office crying everyday…

But as I found my footing and became more confident in my self and in what I was doing, I began to enjoy junior high a little more. My students understood my sarcasm, and gave it right back to me. I loved chatting with them about the books they were reading, their interests, their goals in life. The older ones started to grow on me.

And then it happened…I fell in love. It wasn’t during my first year, but gradually overtime. These older students….the ones that towered over me with their teenage, hormonal attitudes hooked me, began to grown on me. And as I spent more time with them, I could see I began to grow on them just a little bit, too.

But don’t tell my principal…I’m still trying to convince her that third grade is the place for me!

Peace out, Dreadmill!

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Last night, I turned off my alarm clock. I decided that my poor, tired teacher body could use ONE day where I wasn’t jostled out of a perfect sleep by the shrill beeping of my alarm clock. I normally like to set it early to beat the “rush” of the crazies at the gym…I despise having to stare down people who decide that its perfectly alright to stand at a machine, or a treadmill, and just chat with their friends… “Umm…excuse me? I’m trying to get skinny. Please move out of my way!”

So as I pulled into the over crowed parking lot this morning…late… and headed inside, I was perfectly annoyed before I even dropped off my things. Every treadmill was taken. Want to go on an elliptical? Get in line! Wanted to do those machines over there? Sorry, the guys with big muscles are using it to hold their gym bags. Ugh…so annoyed.

So after getting in a quick arm workout, and seeing the upstairs “cardio” area was still full (I’m pretty sure more calories were being burned talking, than running), I grabbed my stuff and headed to the trails near my house. I pulled into a full lot (sigh), I laced up my running shoes, turned on “map my run” and headed out…into perfect bliss.

Not a person in sight. Bright, clear, blue sky. Perfect running temperature..58…fantastic! I cranked up my music and took off. The first mile was fantastic…great pace, much better views than the inevitable guys smiling at themselves in the mirror at the gym as they flexed.

And than it turned to sand. Wet sand. Sand that was still frozen in some spots. Sand that clung to the bottoms of my shoes. Sand that send me slipping and sliding in every which way. Sand that made it nearly impossible to keep running.

Did I have to stop and walk a bit? Sure did! Did the wet sand slow me down? Yup! Did I run as fast as I would have on the dry, flat treadmill? Nope! Did I enjoy my run outside more than the “dreadmill” despite the wet sand and ice slick spots? Absolutely! The beautiful river, the chirping of the birds, and the amazing weather definitely made my run today so much more enjoyable than the overcrowded and much too warm gym.

After the views from today, I doubt the treadmill and I will be spending too much more time together. I’ve got these gorgeous views to continue to check out!
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Endless Cycle

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Frustrated…

I watch you ignore all of the guidance you’ve been given…the help offered to you without falter.

Angered…

As I watch you treat the people closest to you, who love you, as if they are strangers…unimportant…people you can just brush off.

Surprised…

You have so much potential…yet, you just don’t care…choose to let it go to waste.

Heartbroken…

At the mess you have created for yourself…the hold you’ve dug yourself into…the fact, that you just don’t care.

Sad…

At the pain you cost your family, your mom…making her question her parenting, her guidance, that she didn’t “do it right.”

Annoyed…

That after so many years, so many fights, so many worries, so many battles….that nothing has changed.

Mad…

That you take no ownership of your choices…lie, make up stories.

Frustrated…

That you just. don’t. care.

Just one of those days…

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Today, was just one of those days. You know the one…where nothing seems to go just right. No matter what you do, how prepared you (think) you are, or how fast you move, you just can’t get it right. Well, that way my morning.

– I woke up in a fog..this time change is just KICKING. MY. BUTT!
– I stubbed my toe on the door…major ouch!
– My dryer stopped working…and my dress pants for work were still wet.
– I spilled orange juice all over my freshly washed kitchen floor.
– And my keys…well, they were NOWHERE to be found!

– Finally out the door, (on time surprisingly) only to realize my car was low on gas.
– I dropped my cell phone under my car at the gas station…lucky me got to crawl around on the ground to reach it. Sigh.
– Finally, made it to the highway in one piece…with cell phone in hand (still on time, I might add, only to receive the beeping I’ve grown to dread…

– Beep…beep…Aghh…the accident alert setting of my phone was going off…Fingers crossed, I looked, hoping that it was nothing…nope, definitely not that lucky today.
– An hour and forty-five minutes later, I finally arrived to school…20 minutes late (thankful for first period plan!), frazzled and stressed, rushing round to get situated for my sub, to head off to administer the PARCC (now also, battling the onset of a massive headache)…

– And then my day took a turn for the better…thanks to some amazing people I’m lucky enough to work with.
*My sub, was already here and jumped in to help me get settled (she was amazing)!
*My wonderful AP, Kelly, and Dean, Katie,  knew I was running late and had stepped in to get the computer lab set up for my testing kiddos…score! They also stayed to help me get tickets passed out, everyone settled (including myself), before heading out. What a help they were to me!

My day may have just started off as one of those days…but I’m so lucky that I work with people who are so willing to help out when needed, that it has only taken a turn for the better! Hopefully, I will not have one of these “days” again anytime soon!